How to treat mallenders: Soon your horse will feel better!In the fall and winter months, many horses get foot odor. Unfortunately, few owners know how to properly treat their horse for foot-and-mouth, which often makes it worse and leads to a lot of pain for the horse. For this reason, I have consulted with mallenders expert and Dipl. Biologist Alfred Berger entertain and explain to you in this article not only how the Mauke develops, but also give you valuable tips on the proper treatment of Mauke!
Treatment of mallenders: With these tips your horse will soon feel better! – Interview with a horse mange expert and Dipl. Biologist Alfred Berger
Mallenders is a serious disease, which is often treated incorrectly. I have therefore talked to mallenders expert Alfred Berger to clarify the biggest mistakes in the treatment of mallenders in this article. Alfred Berger is Dipl. Biologist and has been intensively engaged in the last years with the mallenders, their spreading and the right treatment. Nowadays he works as a product developer at Speed and has developed, among other things, the mallenders' remedy BacControl*. In addition, he is constantly engaged in alternative treatment methods and pursues the goal of strengthening and supporting animals without burdening them unnecessarily with the side effects of medications.
What is mallenders and how you can recognize them
In the end, mange is a kind of collective term for inflammatory skin irritations at the pasterns of the horse, each of which can have different causes. Similar to sweet itch, it can quickly become chronic. Often underlies a weak immune system. In the early stages, you can recognize the disease by the reddening of the skin around the pasterns and by the fact that the fur on the affected areas recedes more and more. Therefore, it is best to check this area of your horse regularly in order to detect and treat it in time.
Three types of mallenders and their progression
There are three different types of mallenders: the eczematous mallenders (Eccema squamosum resp. Mildew (dermatitis verrucosa). A gangrenous disease (dermatitis gangraenosa). Due to the swelling and thickening of the skin, if not treated, it leads to restricted movement of the joints and lameness in the horse. In the worst case, the mallenders can lead to a chronic disease and even trigger a sepsis (blood poisoning), which spreads to the entire body and can be fatal for the horse.
Alfred Berger explains the typical course of eczematous mallenders as follows:
"In the case of eczematous mallenders, the first symptoms are inflammatory redness with painful swelling of the skin. After a few days, it progresses to a weeping stage, where blisters may appear between the hairs. These then burst and deflate, resulting in a weeping eczema. The escaping liquid can stick the hairs together. In the further course it takes on a rotten character. The considerably swollen skin may show transverse folds with tears. Due to drying up of the exudate, crusts are formed. Depending on the degree of inflammation and the number of affected limbs, the horse may be lame or have a tense gait."
Advanced disease of the mallenders ©Speed
The most frequent triggers of the mauke disease
Since Mauke occurs largely in the winter months and increasingly with open stable horses, it is suspected that both cold and the impact of moisture is responsible for the development of Mauke. Furthermore, dirt drives the spread of mallenders, which is why it is often called "mallenders". But also too much cleanliness and frequent washing of the coat as well as the treatment with various care products can irritate the skin and cause such a skin irritation. According to this, there are several external factors that can trigger the occurrence of eczema in horses, whereby the increased occurrence of high humidity from autumn and in winter, but also in spring, is probably the decisive factor.
Alfred Berger explains it this way:
"Mud, sand, dirt, etc. Mites attack the skin. Weakens their resistance. It becomes vulnerable to bacterial infections or even mold germs. A weakened general immune system can then be aggravating or even triggering precursors for the skin irritations."
Weak immune system
As Alfred Berger has already pointed out, horses that are not exposed to damp or muddy ground can also be affected by mange. A weak immune system is often the cause of the skin irritation, which can be aggravated by external circumstances. Reasons can be a lack of important minerals such as zinc or incorrect feeding. In addition, mallenders are often attributed to kidney problems. The stress factor should also not be underestimated. Horses that are exposed to stress are also more likely to be affected by mallenders.
Here it is of course important to strengthen the horse's immune system and, depending on the actual cause, to ensure a better mineral balance and improved kidney performance, as well as to avoid stress. Because external treatment methods can only reduce the symptoms of mallenders, but do not combat internal causes in the long term! The following lines go only to external factors. Use external treatment methods accordingly. If you are not sure whether your horse suffers from scurf due to external circumstances or internal problems, it is best to have a blood count done by a veterinarian to clarify the situation and to be able to treat the scurf properly! Here you can read more about internal triggers. How you treat it best!
Frequently affected horse breeds
Most often affected are horses with long hair, such as Tinker, Friesian or Shire Horses. This is due to the fact that the typical long coat dries slowly and the moisture stays on the skin longer, causing skin irritation faster than in horses with ordinary or hardly any coat.
Tips for the right treatment: So you know how to treat your horse with mallenders!
You should pay attention to the following during the treatment
Keep the affected areas dry!
As soon as you notice the first signs of mallenders on your horse, you should not put your horse on the muddy paddock or the wet paddock, because the most important thing in the treatment of mallenders is to keep the affected areas as dry as possible! This also includes keeping the stable and the bedding dry and dust-free and, if necessary, mucking out several times a day.
Treat the areas with helpful remedies
In the meantime, there are several products on the market that help in the treatment of mallenders and contain the disease. BacControl* from the brand Speed has proven to be the best, as this product contains probiotic bacteria. These bacteria have a high moisture requirement and feed on dirt, which keeps the affected areas dry and clean at the same time. In addition, BacControl is a mild alternative to other remedies, which are often too aggressive and aggravate rather than combat the scabies. "The so-called probiotic cleansing by means of BacControl is a simple and effective treatment. At the same time very effective alternative in the meeting of Mauke represent. The probiotic cleansing by simple spraying ensures that the legs are colonized with benign probiotic bacteria that have a strong need for moisture, allowing the legs to dry quickly and also stay dry. In this way, one can sustainably control the moisture factor, i.e. keep the leg drier.
Moreover, the probiotic bacteria improve the hygienic conditions on the skin. Because the probiotic bacteria feed on the dirt, which greatly reduces the risk factors of dirt and moisture. The high number of probiotic bacteria in Speed's BacControl creates a stable and healthy bacteriological microflora on the treated areas, which is the reason for its success."
Also practical is the spray function of the bottle, which allows you to easily spray BacControl on the affected areas of your horse and avoid further, for your horse unpleasant and sometimes painful touches, such as for example by applying ointments. You should use the product twice a day, preferably once in the morning and once in the evening. After about seven days of treatment with BacControl you can already see a clear improvement of the inflamed skin areas. Also the magazine Mein Pferd has tested BacControl. Awarded with the My Horse seal of approval. Here you can read the complete test report!
Wash the areas and remove crusts carefully
As far as this point is concerned, opinions differ strongly. While some advocate washing the affected areas regularly and removing the crusts caused by the mallenders, Alfred Berger advises not to remove these crusts. "The crust is even a protection. The renewal of the skin is possible under it. Only if there are extremely large crusts that restrict movement and tear open, I would recommend washing and carefully removing them."
Should you decide to treat with BacControl, it is also not necessary to remove these crusts at all. The probiotic bacteria are able to eliminate the infection-. Displacing wound germs under the crust. So the skin under the crust can form slowly new and is not irritated by the constant washing and tearing off the crusts.
If you do not treat your horse with BacControl, most veterinarians recommend cleaning the affected areas regularly, preferably daily, to remove any dirt that may aggravate the mallenders. But you should only use mild shampoos or wash lotions, which do not destroy the PH-value of the skin. In addition, in this case, it is advised to soften and carefully remove the crusts. But you have to be really careful!
If you force the scabs off, this will not only lead to bleeding and pain for your horse, but will also increase the size of the wounds. So you create only new entry possibilities for the pathogens. You will most likely only aggravate the mallenders! If the crusts do not come off easily, you can also soak them with fat ointment at first.
After you have washed the areas and removed the crusts, you should rinse them again with clear water and dry them thoroughly – but be careful here too and especially gentle when drying them off!
Attention: If red-brown, rather thin crusts have formed on the spots, do not remove them under any circumstances, because this is healthy scab!
Use natural herbs and vegetable oils
You can also treat the affected areas with anti-inflammatory herbs such as sage, thyme or chamomile. Pour the herbs with hot or boiling water, let this infusion cool down and use it in your washing process. Also helpful are plant oils such as jojoba or almond oil, which you can use to nourish the skin all around to keep it supple and intact.
Attention: If you treat your horse with BacControl, you should not use herbs and plant oils that have a disinfecting effect, as these can inhibit the BacControl bacteria and dissolve their effect. Of course, this also applies to other disinfectants!
Scissor the fur in the fetlock bend
Another tip is to simply shear away the hairs of the pasterns. This makes the treatment of the mallenders easier for you. Agents such as BacControl can thus reach the inflamed skin more easily. In addition you take away a part of the breeding ground for the bacteria.
Treating mallenders: These are the biggest mistakes you should avoid at all costs!
The biggest mistakes in the treatment of mallenders
Unfortunately, many owners treat their horses incorrectly and cause a further spread and aggravation of the Mauke. In order to avoid these mistakes and to help your horse get well quickly, I will list them here:
The biggest and most widespread mistake is the treatment with disinfecting detergents and ointments or aggressive soaps, which upset the PH of the skin and irritate it unnecessarily. Often iodine soaps or ointments containing zinc oxide are used for this purpose. The reason for such treatment methods is the desire to kill the bacteria and stop further spread of the mallenders. However, such disinfection measures are often painful for the horse and very tedious. In addition, horses can hardly be kept free of germs. A new infection comes so faster than thought!
Use of airtight creams
Also common is the use of airtight creams such as milking fat and various baby creams. These creams are smeared on the affected areas by many horse owners after cleaning and are supposed to keep the skin supple. However, this treatment method is rather counterproductive, as Alfred Berger reveals:
"Anyone who uses them to keep the skin supple is working absolutely counterproductively, because they create the best environment for bacteria of all kinds. These creams seal airtight and underneath bacteria continue to multiply blithely."
– do not use aggressive soaps that destroy the PH value of the skin – do not use disinfectant cleansers and ointments – do not use airtight creams like milking fat or baby creams
Treating mallenders is not witchcraft!
Most horses fall ill with mallenders as soon as autumn arrives. Check your horse in the winter months regularly at the fetlock bends, in order to recognize a disease at Mauke in time. When treating, make sure to keep the affected areas dry and clean, and use effective remedies against scurf. Especially recommended is the remedy BacControl* from the brand Speed.
If you do not use this remedy, wash the areas gently and remove incrustations carefully. You can also use anti-inflammatory herbs like sage, thyme or chamomile, or vegetable oils like jojoba or almond oil.
In any case you should avoid aggressive soaps, disinfecting detergents and ointments as well as airtight creams like milking fat or baby creams. If you follow these tips, the mallenders will disappear and your horse will feel better soon!