Fungusamungus: A Horse Owners Worst Nightmare
As a horse owner one of the things I dread most is rainy seasonand the humidity it brings to us here in Florida is ridiculous. Not only do I dread going out in the sun and immediately breaking a sweat; but as most equestrians know, rainy season means fungus and I hate fungus! Unfortunately, rainy season is quickly approaching and I am trying my best to stay ahead of any fungus that may come with it.
There are many different “cures” for leg fungus and I have tried many of them, and until a year and a half ago I never had an easy cure to that pesky fungus. Many people just warn you to keep your horses legs dry, but few know it is more complex than that.
If you only take away one thing from this blog, it should be that currying your horses legs is an absolute necessity. I firmly believe that this is the determining factor on if a horse develops fungus. Now, I will be the first to admit that I am quite guilty of forgetting this crucial step during the times that Rumor is body clipped. I always use a soft-brush, but have been known to accidently forget to curry the legs on the days that they have no dirt on them. Since I find traditional curries too abrasive on the legs and refuse to use them, I turn to HandsOn Gloves for all of my currying needs. the individual finger curries allow the user to get into the nooks and crannies of a horses legs while still remaining gentle enough not to damage the sensitive leg structures. When you are currying, watch for flakes of fur coming out; if you see that it is the first indication that fungus is present. The quicker you address the fungus, the quicker it goes away. Ever hear the saying that you shouldn't touch your horse with anything that has already touched fungus? Well that is what I love so much about hands on gloves- they are super easy to clean after every use! So you don't have to worry about risking spreading the fungus to other parts of your horse.
Another crucial thing to ensure that your horse is fungus free this rainy season is to use blue dawn soap on the legs every time they are exposed to mud or wet sand. This soap is gentle on their fur but has deep cleaning power which means it can get to any bacteria and help you fight it off! I usually wash Rumors legs 3-4 times a week with dawn soap and make sure to give her a really good scrub every time. After you wash the legs it is absolutely crucial that they get to dry fully before being returned to their stall or field! I really love using fans on the legs to expedite the process followed by allowing them to graze in the sun to finish the drying process. My last step of the cleaning process is to use a towel to clear the legs from any dust/dirt they may have gathered from the drying process!
If your horse does develop fungus don't worry, there are a number of steps that you can take to relatively quickly get it off of them!
1) Wash their legs at the first sight of fungus
2) Spend an extra 10-15 minutes during your washing process to diligently scrub each leg (start above where the fungus begins) and go all the way down to the hoof.
3) When drying, do not let them graze anywhere with lots of dirt, as the leg needs to stay as clean as possible during the time that you’re actively trying to remove fungus.
4) After the leg is completely dry and has been well wiped down use Equiderma lotion quite liberally all over the areas with fungus. Ensure that the leg has an adequate amount of time to dry with this on before returning to the stall or pasture.
5) Repeat every day until the fungus goes away. Once it is gone ensure that you throw the sponge away that you were using to clean the fungus with, as you don't want to cross contaminate other parts of their body with the bacteria that causes fungus.
I hope this helps each of you, and I wish you all the best in avoiding fungus this year!