If you have been unfortunate enough to have to deal with scratches, you understand the udder frustration this skin condition can cause! 

Pastern Dermatitis, commonly known as scratches, mud fever or greasy heel most often presents itself in the pastern area, but can be found higher up on the legs as well and most common on pink-skinned legs. Visibly, there will be hardened scabs, and when removed, the skin is red, tender and scaly. Without treatment, the cracks and scabs can spread, cause thickened, calloused skin and in severe cases, your horse can become lame. 

Skin Fact: Pastern Dermatitis is generally caused by the organism dermatophilus congolensis, which is the same organism that causes rain rot. 


Immediate and diligent care is needed at the onset of Pastern Dermatitis, as it is known to spread and progress rapidly. 

  1. Start by washing the affected areas with Equiderma Neem Shampoo. Allow shampoo to sit on the skin for 5-10 minutes to soften the scabs and soothe the skin under neath. When rinsing, try to remove the soften scabs. If scabs are still hard and firmly attached, repeat shampooing and allow to sit for longer. Removal of the scabs is paramount to allow the remaining treatment to directly act on the skin itself. 
  2. Dry well. Once dry, examine the skin. If the skin appears dry and scaly apply Equiderma Skin Lotion. If the skin appears wet, or is weeping blood or clear fluid (serum) apply Equiderma Skin Lotion, followed by Equiderma Zinc Oxide Paste. ** Important to Note, you can also apply Zinc Oxide Paste to the dry, scaly form of pastern dermatitis, although not as paramount as in the wet form. This will also act as a protective barrier.**
  3. Continue treatment daily until resolved. Important to try to remove the horse from damp, wet environments while undergoing treatment, however as horse owners ourselves, we can appreciate that this isn’t always possible due to the nature of the horse’s environment.

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