Horses standing in the rain. Photo by Kristina Delp.……

Scratches, mud fever, greasy heel… there are a lot of names for this nasty fungal condition that commonly appears on your horse’s pasterns and legs. Once wet weather arrives, your horse is at a particularly high risk for scratches. When you look into treatment, you’ll find a whole slew of concoctions that usually involve a triple antibiotic cream, diaper rash cream, among other things. Some horse owners fail to look at their horse’s diet though!

Scratches and Nutrition

Most horse owners realize the importance of a good diet. In addition to carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, there are essential minerals and vitamins that your horse needs. Many complete feeds offer these, but some still leave room for deficiencies. Your horse’s hay and pasture may also be deficient in some areas.

In order to support a healthy immune system and skin, your horse needs certain minerals and vitamins. These include:

  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Vitamin E

Omega-3 fatty acids can also support healthy skin.

If your horse is routinely getting scratches, then you may consider adding a zinc/copper supplement. Mad barn offers a blend of 3:1. Custom Equine Nutrition also has a zinc and copper trace mineral blend.

Horse eating in a wash stall. Photo by Jon Tyson.

Prevention is also key! You don’t have to wait for scratches to strike before evaluating your horse’s diet.