October 28, 2014


Scratches is an odd name for a form of dermatitis often occurring on the fetlocks. It is
caused by a bacteria that can infect stressed skin of the foot. Similar to rain rot, the skin is
exposed to wet and muddy conditions and can cause microscopic cracks whereby
infection can take hold. The bacteria is naturally occurring in the environment and thrives
in moist conditions where it can take hold on the lower legs of our equine pals.

Dani didn't really have exposure wet conditions before her scratches formed but I think it
could very well have been due to the wetting of her hing legs due to her hoof clipping
injury. In the past I think she had this once and I just washed her legs really well thinking
it was mud. It very well could have been scratches and she was subjected to muddy
conditions at that time. These scratches cases have been very mild compared to really red
and swollen cases I've Googled online.


I've been treating Dani using Shapley's MTG which has sulfur in it as the primary ingredient.  It's not as concentrated as the above process for making a paste with sulfur powder.  If this continued too long I would have made a more concentrated treatment.

Dani's foot after only one treatment
Above is Dani's foot after one application.  Pretty much as it was, I thought it was mud at first so didn't know to treat it right away.  It's not the type of "scratches" image that I have in my mind!  

A week later the hard crusts have fallen off mostly, much less "stuff"

This second picture above shows her foot after about a week of treatment, I didn't treat daily, maybe every other day when I could get out there and since some days were raining it didn't make sense to treat her since it would just wash off.  There were only a couple "dirt clumps"/scabs left the rest was just dirt.  

Here are her fetlocks now, much better.  I'm still applying the MTG for a couple more days.  It's good to know what a mild case of scratches looks like.

I'm glad the MTG worked well. As a prevention I plan on using No Thrush, a white
powder used for treating and preventing thrush in the hoof sulci. The label and website
also indidcates that No Thrush can be used to treat and prevent scraches. This is good to
know and since it's a powder that is easier and less messy to apply than MTG or a sulfur
paste I could make myself. 

MTG was simple to use but making a
concentrated paste with food grade sulfur is an option for a more difficult case. Zinc
olxide paste is another option stated by a vet. Diaper rash cream contains this. If needed
the area can be wrapped for a couple days to keep the ointment on the skin longer.
Now that I'm aware what mild scratches looks like I can be more vigilant on spotting and
treating it.


Terry said...

Good job!
It seems that our white legged horses are more susceptible to scratches. I've found that keeping the fetlock hair clipped really helps in prevention, probably because the short hair dries faster.

Christie Maszk said...

Ah yes, thank you! I meant to mention that if tends to affect the white legs. Are hind legs more susceptible? Last time, if indeed she had scratches, it was on her hind legs as well.