Grapes - & what you should know about it
You probably know this nasty skin eczema. Maybe your horse hasn't had any problems with it, but you've probably seen or heard about it on other horses. When it comes to mallenders, horse owners have many different opinions on what to do. There are endless remedies that are supposed to help. But before you start treating a horse, we have some important information for you.
Horses that have grapes like to stomp the ground with the diseased leg and are often somewhat restless. No wonder! The fetlock itches and hurts. But attention! Grapes aren't just grapes! It is rather a generic term for skin irritations. In fact, it mostly occurs in the crook of the fetlock. If the skin is defective there, bacteria can penetrate and spread. This in turn leads to redness and intense itching. If you don't recognize this quickly enough, it can lead to lancing (by the pathogen Streptococcus) and even blood poisoning.
There is a widespread opinion that grape is only caused by a hygienic deficit. This means that the horse's stalls are poorly mucked out or that the four-legged friends have to spend far too many hours in muddy paddocks or pastures. However, this is not correct. Also too much protein-rich fodder as well as fodder incompatibilities can release this skin illness. Sometimes it is even genetically determined. In addition, white pasterns, which therefore have no pigmentation, are also more susceptible. Last but not least, the health condition or the immune system of your horse always plays a big role.
Now that you've identified that your horse has grape, there's one more important question to address. Does your horse have the weeping or the dry variant of grape? Here you have to treat differently. You can recognize a weeping mallow by the fact that purulent liquid comes out of the wound. There are blisters and you can assume that it causes pain to your darling. It is important to keep the wound dry.
You proceed differently if it is a dry mallow. You can recognize this by porous skin and even scabbing. Here you should keep the corresponding areas supple with ointment. You can rub the areas with a rough terry cloth. If the scabs do not come off, you should not remove them by force. It would only cause small injuries again. In this case, the skin irritations must be treated with ointment for a longer period of time and kept supple until they can be rubbed off easily.
The course of a mauke
In the beginning, the skin at the fetlock bend is slightly red. You probably don't even really notice it. But when these areas become warm or already swollen, you know that something is wrong. If you don't get to the bottom of it, the skin will crack and wound fluid consisting of water and pus can leak out. Blisters, plaques and scabs form. Finally, the formation of warts on the malleus can occur.
It is especially important that you find out the cause of the grapes. This must then be remedied, because otherwise you run the risk that the grapes can even become chronic.
Even if many people recommend using milking fat or baby cream, it is better to stay away from it. Airtight creams have no place on such wounds because they are counterproductive. They close the skin and the bacteria underneath celebrate a feast, because they can spread wonderfully.
What can you do preventively:
- The pastern of your horse is sensitive. Do not wash them unnecessarily often, because the protective film of the skin is only attacked.
- If this cannot be avoided, dry them thoroughly afterwards.
- Avoid risk of injury in this area and keep it clean with soft brushes.
- Make sure that the gaiters and boot covers are clean. This will prevent chafing, where bacteria would again have an easy game.
- Even if you think it is nice to remove the fetlock hanging, it is strongly advised not to do so. You will destroy the function of water drainage.
- Be sure to feed a balanced feeding.
- Various herbs for liver detoxification or immune strengthening can be helpful. Here you should seek advice from professionals.
- Keep your horse's stall clean. Ammonia is a strong irritant and could irritate the sensitive skin of the pastern.
- Make sure your horse doesn't always have to stand in the mud and wet.
What means can provide relief:
- Zinc paste for weeping grape
- Zinc ointment for dry grape
- Propolis (bee resin) has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Apply as a cream or liquid to the diseased areas of the skin using a pipette.
- Boil medicinal herbal decoction of chamomile, sage or thyme and after cooling carefully clean the corresponding areas with it.
- Graphites, Sulfur and Thuja as globulis. Please always consult with a veterinarian / veterinary practitioner, which is the remedy of choice and in what potency.
- Oils such as almond oil or jojoba oil help to keep the surrounding skin of the mallow supple.
Normally, you can treat a disease such as grapes very well yourself. However, if there is no clear improvement after 14 days or you notice that your horse is getting worse, you should urgently call the vet.