Scratches/ Mud Fever
Scratches (or mud fever) is when a mix of bacteria gets inside a cut. Scratches usually happens when the equine is living in wet and muddy conditions for a long time.
Our donkey Lizabeth had scratches when she came to us. She had been suffering from it for over a year and nothing would help, whether because of her age or from a underlying condition that had yet to be found. She required daily scrubbing and picking off the large scabs from her knee to get to the fresher skin underneath to the point of which it often made it bleed and cleansing of the site to make sure it didn't get worse. If it spreads to the bone or further down the leg, it can make an equine lame. She was very good about letting us do this, but you could tell that it had to be painful. Essentially a scab attempts to form over the cut, which would normally be a good thing in any healing process, however with this condition the scab keeps moisture inside. Scratches thrive off of moisture, so you have to do the complete opposite and remove the scabs whenever they form. We found that the spray to help heal the scratches and method we were given wasn't working. We desperately wanted to help her, knowing doing this daily seemed to be painful. We were insistent in not giving up so we researched other methods that we could try and ended up finding an old farmers tale that claimed to have good results. It may sound weird or silly but it was worth trying for her sake. We wrapped freshly made sauerkraut over the cut and bandaged her leg for 3 days, changing daily. Essentially the sauerkraut works to heal the infection that's under the skin. When the bandage is removed the scab should be mushy and maybe even fall off! For the next several weeks we scrubbed it every day with fresh water, kept it dry and to aide in the healing, put Desitin and Triple Antibiotic ointment on the area. After months of suffering from this painful and irritating condition, Lizabeth is now thriving and free of Scratches!
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