Horse Problems Australia,
Post Office Box 1361
Victor Harbor, SA. 5211

61 08 85 521418


by John O'Leary

© 2000








For the serious wound, I have found Flint's Medicated Oil to be by far the most successful treatment. Not for small jobs though. Put it only on the injured flesh, not the skin or perimeter. Don't put it on a wet wound. You should only have to use it a max of two times. Put petroleum jelly on the areas you don't want to burn off.



Proud flesh is one of the biggest dangers  to the successful treatment and cosmetic result. Far and away the best treatment for this is the use of bluestone/copper sulphate. (Take a look at this)

Mix a teaspoon of it in some water/Vaseline etc. Smear the paste upon the proud flesh only. Not the healthy flesh. Leave on for one night and pick the scab off the next day. The proud flesh is gone. Use this magical product to manicure the wound like a plastic surgeon. Shape it how you want and remove the raised sections. You should only have to use it once upon a certain spot unless negligence has caused a massive build up in which case other applications may be necessary. When the proud flesh is down to the flush level to where you want, treat the wound as per normal. An oldy but the best. Horses would benefit greatly if Vets' explained to customers' about the treatment of proud flesh and the problems it causes. This is unfortunately why we see so many ugly swollen wound areas on the legs of horses.




After 30 years of debate, fears over children's food confirmed

Stay away from certain foods. Sodium benzoate is widely used in soft drinks and artificial colorings are used in confectionery, drinks, ice creams and cakes, although some manufacturers and retailers have been trying to switch to natural ones. Additives should appear on the label by name or E number, but since many of these foods are sold loose, they are not always labeled.


  • Tablespoon of kerosene in a 4 litre bucket of water. Sponge horse over.


  • 33%  paraffin oil/ 33% eucalyptus oil, 33% Detol /antiseptic
    Spray with household bottle.


  • 15mL Citronella oil
    2 tbs metholated spirits
    4 tbs vinegar
    1 mug strong cold tea (use about 4 teabags)
    Top up to 2L water.
     1 tb washing up liquid

I have a mare with itch and I have found that pinetarsol seems to instantaneously relieve the itch and it lasts a while as well.  It also seems to be a repellent, I don’t know how strong or for how long but maybe it is something to do with the weird smokey smell of it.  It’s the yellow stuff you put in the bath to soothe the itch when your kids have chicken pox.  You get it from the chemist.  Ego is the brand I have.  Worked like magic on my daughter so thought I’d try it on my mare.  She loves it and stands still while I wipe it over her.  Seems to last for a good few hours so a quick wipe in the morning and evening along with rugging might help.  Just tip a bit on a sponge with a little water.




Hi John

Just thought you might like to add this info to your ever growing database

My daughters Welsh A 12hh is a lovely but very cranky and always itching pony – even with rugs 24/7 he would bite his sheath, rub on anything – including the ground.

We found Brute to be a help but with the excess rain this year the Brute did not last and treating him too frequently was not an option – I was also concerned as it’s a pretty potent chemical.

I then found Heritage Downs Sulphate free shampoo, conditioner, oils and sprays. Why not – I’m as gullible and desperate as the next itchy horse owner – so splurged the $100.00 or so for the whole shebang.

1 wash & condition
2 when dry apply the healing, fly repellent cream to raw areas
3 then lightly coat the horse with the oil
4 rug on
5 use bug spray as and when required.

Well I have to say on this pony it has worked wonders – I followed all the steps 2 weeks ago and put on a good quality mesh rug (impressed too with Caribu hooded mesh combo)

I did not treat his body again – every second day I applied the cream to the worst spots and after a week they were pretty much gone. I used the bug spray about 2/3 times a week.

This pony has a mane growing for the first summer in 2 years and his personality has changed dramatically – so much so my daughter thinks I have swapped him out for a look alike. LOL

Most of the stuff will be enough to treat him for a year – the only product I will need to buy more of is the bug spray – which at $30 or so isn’t so bad to keep him this way.

Thanks for a great website.



Foals can be started on their vaccination course against both diseases at about 12 weeks of age.
Protection for the first 12 weeks of life occurs if a previously vaccinated mare is given another booster at least 2–6 weeks before foaling.
Strangles and tetanus both require two or more primary doses at specific time intervals to produce effective immunity  below, and the


Tetanus occurs when a wound becomes infected with the tetanus spores, which are present in soil.

Horses are extremely susceptible to this disease. Once inside the wound, if the conditions are favorable, the spores will germinate and produce a powerful toxin that affects the central nervous system. The size of the wound can be so small that it may not be noticed. Some of the signs to look for in a horse suspected of having tetanus are evidence of the third eyelids prolapsing across the eyes, a stiff-legged gait, often with the tail held out away from the body, pricked ears and “lockjaw”. The muscles become rigid and the horse may go down. Convulsions can occur and death may result from paralysis of the respiratory system. Treatment is difficult, expensive and often unsuccessful.

Every horse from the age of 12 weeks should begin a vaccination program to provide long term protection against tetanus. If a wound occurs, tetanus antitoxin (Equivac TAT) may be given for short-term protection.


  1. Strangles is a disease transmitted from horse to horse—animals that remain in isolation are not at risk. Horses attending studs, shows or camps, or those which are away on agistment, are at risk, and epidemics may follow such events. These horses should be vaccinated throughout their life.
  2. Boosters should be given annually.
  3. Unfortunately the strangles vaccine is not as effective as the tetanus vaccine. Occasionally the disease occurs in horses which have been vaccinated. However, vaccination is still recommended to reduce risks.
  4. There is no immediate short-term protection for strangles should an outbreak occur. Seek immediate veterinary attention.

Courtesy of NSW Dept of Agric.

GREASY HEEL (Mud Fever - Rain Scald)

This is a very dangerous. It is dermatophilus congolensis (bacteria) and it causes dermatitis type lesions, scabs and sores. If left, it can kill your horse and it is highly important that you treat it seriously and immediately with regularity. Horses may need antibiotics to control infection which can pass throughout the body and kill the horse. Local anti-biotic cream may also be used. Greasy Heel is infection and passes from horse to horse even via stable sawdust or straw.


Associated causes are, dermatitis, micro-organisms, allergies, photosensitivity, nutrition, irritants, and soil or bedding conditions. It is usually caused by the same organisms that cause rain scald. Other bacteria may also be involved in chronic cases.


 Housing or shelter should be provided to facilitate the drying of the animal's coat, since the infection is helped in dry conditions.

Soften the infected area with soap or an anti-bacterial wash and then scrape off all of the scabs, back to the red skin. Some bleeding may occur. Then apply any of the following remedies. (One at a time)

  • corticosteroid-antibiotic cream
  • Sea Minerals Dermal Ointment
  • Zinc Cream
  • Curash  baby powder made by Wallace Barker.
  • sulphur powder mixed in petroleum jelly until it is yellow
  • Pink Eye antibiotic powder.
  • Thuja extract ointment (Herbal)
  • Thrush Cream that ladies use.
  • Pink Powder
  • White Ointment
  • Dermaguard Medicated Wash

Treatment and cleaning must occur every day until cleared. White legged horses should be protected with sun screen or zinc cream in the areas effected as UV rays can cause the onset of the infection as well. Hair may be clipped from the region to aid cleaning. Hair standing inside scabs must come off. Horses must be restrained to treat them for their own good. Tying up is the best control but other restraints like a twitch may be necessary. The owner must be strong and not faint hearted. Cleaning must be proper, not half baked because you feel sorry for the horse. You have to be cruel to be kind.

I am advised by a Vet that Greasy heel is often confused with this. "Pastern Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis" She goes on to say.

"It is basically an immune mediated disease which is exacerbated by sunlight, contact dermatitis etc and occurs on white pasterns. The tell tale sign that it not bog standard Greasy Heel is the amount of swelling in the affected limb. The treatment is cortisone, either orally, long acting injection or topically. As we show this horse, I opted to use Neotopic H/Neocort lotion rather than systemic treatment along with Filta Bac as a sunscreen and we have had a good resolution. The main take home message is that a lot of Greasy Heel treatments eg clipping, scrubbing and application of irritant substances will make this conditon worse. Interesting point too, Prednoderm (Green Ointment) appears to make it worse as well, despite having cortisone in it. I think it may be due to the Chlorophyll in it exacerbating the photosensitisation aspect of this disease. "

So I guess you must be sure which affliction it is before deciding upon the treatment.

 spray on a mix of peroxide, pino clean, bleach and metho dilut ted with x4 times that amount of water. ie 1/4 cup of each plus 4 cups of water.

For anyone out there with rain scald or greasy heel. I wrote to you John about 8 months ago, I had the appy with the rain scald. I had tried everything, it got so bad that his whole back was covered in a thick crust. I had to put him in the cattle crush to wash and pick and do what everyone was telling me to do. Anyway I got on to this website from the internet in NSW. The product is called equitch, all I had to do was spray him with it but he was scared of the spray bottle so I sprayed his cotton rug with the stuff and then put it on him with another rug over the top, it was winter in Melbourne. I sprayed the rug every 2nd day, within about 4 weeks it all lifted and I just brushed it off. It smells a bit like kerosine but contains minerals & tea trea olis etc. Fantastic stuff. I havn't looked back. Its hot here now and if it looks like rain I just spunge him over with it. Also keeps flies away.

the appy with the rain scald. He is mine and the Vet told me about photosensitivity, but the fact is that it is a bug, bacteria and a fungi and I found a product that truly works, killed it and just brushed it off and havent had a problem since. and the vets couldn't help me. But thanks to the internet there is all sorts of help out there.

If your horse is suffering from 'greasy heel' also known as 'mud fever' or 'scratches', that one of the easiest ways to remove the scabs to promote healing is to smother them in a mix of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) mixed with 1/3rd Filtabac - the antibacterial sunscreen available from vets and saddleries. This softens the scabs overnight allowing you to gently rub them off. Then cover the area with Filtabac to heal and protect the skin.
Greasy heel can be caused by to much protein in the diet so cut out the lucerne, grains and rich grass to help heal the condition. Horses that are copper deficient also seem to be affected by greasy heel so feed a tablespoon of rosehip granules daily or a pinch of copper sulphate.

 I have recently discovered your web site and have found it very helpful. I was reading your information on greasy heel and I would like to let you know what has worked for me. My mare suffered for two years with greasy heel but then I put her on herbal supplements and she has not had it since. Amongst some of things she is on its the super greens and rosehip that does the trick with greasy heel.

Lindy Cuthbertson

Hi Horseproblems

We get an outbreak of greasy heel in our paddocks almost every year in horses with photosensitive white areas like feet and legs and noses.

Stockholm tar is an old remedy which I have found to work is on my horses white feet, it’s great in the early stages of infection. I wash with antibacterial wash and remove as much scab as I can, thoroughly dry the horses’ feet, then paint a thick coating of Stockholm tar over the sore parts and scabs. The advantages of Stockholm tar are that it stays on, it has an antibacterial and antiseptic effect, it keeps the hoof and leg dry like a bandage. Best of all you don’t have to get your head kicked in. In a few weeks you find new hair is growing under the tar coat and the hair pushes the tar away. This is for the early stages only. If the infection is accompanied by swelling don’t muck around with Stockholm tar – get the vet.

Another tip – my mare gets a badly sunburnt nose and creams etc seem to rub right off as she grazes. Last year I tried coating my mares white blaze with brown henna paste – it stays on for a few days and over time builds up a brown dye – she didn’t get sunburnt all year.



Great K. Thanks very much. Especially the last one. Interesting with the Tanning. The Old Horse People worked out the good remedies, didn't they???? :)  Regards




All you need to do is get some camomile tea bags, break them open and soak them in some olive oil for about an hour or until it smells really camomiley (the longer you soak, the better the essential oils are). Then you massage the leaves and oil gently into the bruise and wrap with glad wrap and then a towel (glad wrap is to protect towel).  Leave this pleasant smelling concoction on for as long as you can and it is best if you have your leg elevated.  Try to massage towards the groin and you can always get someone to assist with this (sorry couldn’t resistJ), this will help move the lymphatic fluids towards the lymph nodes so that the fluid can be drained away.

I have used this remedy myself, when I did a doosey on my ankle – I ruptured most of the tendons in my right ankle, fractured my heal and pulled a chip of bone off where the tendons ruptured and yes it was horse related but not the horses fault, I was dismounting bareback and had to get a swing up to get off (big pony) and landed right on the edge of a little ditch with all my weight on the right leg, so you can imagine it was pretty sore, couldn’t walk without crutches for about a month and a bit and the bruising and swelling was horrendous.  Anyway, thanks to my lovely sister (the naturopath in training) we found out about this remedy after about 5 weeks of me doing the injury and started to apply it, with in the first application it had taken the swelling away and the bruising was noticeable reduced and from that minute it started to heal, I was suitable impressed.

Hi John,

I may be able to help you for a change. When I had a bad motorcycle accident I ended up with a leg injury like yours, to help get rid of the fluid my mum used to put “electric Soda” (found in the laundry section of the supermarket) in a cloth and wrap it tightly around my leg every night before bed. In the morning the soda would be hard as from all the fluid it drained off my leg.



I make the cream by hand.
I sell it over the internet and several people here in Tasmania have used the product.
Roberts Ltd Bridgewater here in Tasmania carry the cream and also Rural Solutions in Sorell Tasmania

We have been operating for some 10 years now and have huge succes with Psoriasis- Dermatitis and Eczema.
And now the horse cream, some chappy tired my Psoriasis cream on his horse and that is whenn I decided to make a horse cream because someone said their horse had Greasy Heel.
The rest is history.
Sorry once again as it was June when you wrote to me.




copper sulphate wash

2 tablespoons of copper sulphate in 1/4 bucket of water. Apply as required.

or go here:



I was on your website and read a little about stifle lock and thought I would share some experiences I went through with this condition.

I had 5 feral horses rounded up from a 6000 acre property where they had only ever been branded and gelded. These guys didn't even know what hay was and walked (ran) straight past it.

To cut a long but interesting story short the youngest one I kept a while, did the most ground work with and sold on. Two years later I bought him back and he was very stiff. If stabled for any period he would lock up. On my riding instructors advice I started giving him epsom salts for magnesium deficiency. He was getting enough decent feed and minerals but he obviously had a huge deficiency while away.

Every now and then I witheld the magnesium and each time any stiffness showed I started adding it again. After six months he seemed completely cured. After 12 months I sold him on as there was nobody small enough at home for him, he was very fine and 14.1hh. He went to Kerry french at the Sydney equestrian centre, she did some further work on him and he became quite a success.

Since having this boy I have on a couple other occasions had horses with similar symptoms improve on magnesium. I am NOT saying you should ignore or not get in a vet but I do believe sometimes you can't take everything your vet says verbatim, I have seen a number misdiagnoses and a tablespoon of epsom salts daily is not going to harm them anyway!