Cracked Heel

Aardora helps speed healing in three ways. First, as a powerful, all-natural antimicrobial dressing, it protects your horse's damaged hoof and heel from harmful germs (bacteria and fungus). Second, Aardora's superior moisturizers quickly soothe irritation, redness and swelling to make your horse more comfortable while the hoof condition clears. Lastly, Aardora’s Active Earth Elements™ draw toxins and allergens away from the skin while providing essential mineral nutrients. Guaranteed results with no reported side effects.

About Cracked Heels, Symptoms & Causes:

Cracked Heel, also known as Mud Fever, Pastern Dermatitis, Greasy Heel or Scratches, is a common condition that affects horses living or working in wet, muddy conditions. The condition is prevalent during early spring snow-melting, and throughout damp fall months.

With continuous exposure to damp conditions, the skin over the pasterns and heels becomes irritated and infected, often resulting in scabby fluid-filled lesions. If these lesions discharge serum, the surrounding skin will become matted and give the coat a rough appearance. With severe cases, the skin at the back of the pastern will split open, producing deep horizontal cracks (also known as cracked heels). If these symptoms develop along a horse's back, the condition is known as rain scald or rain rash.

If not bandaged and treated quickly, cracked heels can have serious complications. Infection can enter these areas of damaged open skin and spread up the leg. And, as cracked skin is constantly flexed during exercise, the pain and inflammation can be severe enough to cause lameness. Pay attention to the extent of your horse's leg pain, any swelling or if the skin surface feels hot; these are signs of a growing infection.

Caring for A Horse with Cracked Heels:

Always clean your hands thoroughly before handling your horse’s skin so you do not accidentally spread bacteria to the surrounding areas. If possible, clear the affected area by clipping away hair with a set of grooming clippers or a small pair of first aid scissors. This will give you greater access, and give dirt less places to hide as your horse’s skin heals.  

Once the area is clipped, take a clean gauze or towel and soak it in an antibacterial solution, such as saline solution (contact lens solution) or hydrogen peroxide. Or, wet the towel and rub it with a gentle soap, then gently clean the area.

Gently pat the area dry with a towel. Use a topical (surface) skin protectant, such as Aardora, to guard the skin against bacterial infection and keep the affected area clean. Aardora will also relieve your horse’s inflammation and redness, and moisturize any crusty skin. Afterward, cover the area with a gauze, wrap with a bandage and then secure with tape, being mindful not to wrap the bandage too tightly and cut off circulation to the affected area. While doing this, it is important to be as careful as possible so you do not cause further trauma to the skin. If you sense that your horse is in extreme pain or likely to become unruly, you may want to request the help of a vet to sedate the horse or provide pain killers.

In the following days, check your horse’s skin every 12 hours. Gently remove any scabs or crusts skin that have formed, clean the area with soap and water, apply Aardora ointment and apply a fresh clean bandage.

Trying to Prevent Cracked Heels...

To avoid future equine leg irritation and cracked heels, try not to ride in deep sticky ground conditions. Deep mud can twist a horse's delicate legs and possibly damage their leg tendons and ligaments. If the rain turns your arena into a swampy area, give your horse the day off and keep him or her inside until the field is a dryer and safer place. Also, keep your horse’s pen/stall dry by shoveling out any wet soiled patches and replacing them with dry bedding. There are lots of absorbent beddings available at feed or tack shops. Regularly remove manure from paddocks and pastures, and improve drainage if mud is a problem.

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Aardora Veterinary Health, Ltd.
PO Box 2182
Woonsocket, RI 02895
Phone 888-327-6215 or 401-228-9802

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