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Lump - what is it and how to deal with it?

Published: 2023-05-09 12:41:18 Categories: Guides Rss feed , Horse health Rss feed

Lump - what is it and how to deal with it?

It started with little abrasions from wellingtons at my horse, on the back part of the fetlocks during an autumn training. In the wound's area a few little crusts appeared in few days that covered not only the wound. The skin became much more sensitive there and all my attempts to remove the crusts were taken nervously by my horse.

Lump is unfortunately a quite common skin infection at our four-legged friends. They are the most susceptible during autumn and early springMuddy paddocks and rainy weather conduce them, as well as the unfavourable zoohygienic conditions, namely wet, deep, and not very often changed litter. Just a little cut or general weakness of the security barrier of the horse's skin and soon we might see the redness and appearing of little crusts that reminds mud, not only on the fetlocks, but also on the heels, abdomen, upper parts of the limbs, and even on the top of the nose. The most vulnerable are horses with white legs, sensitive skin, and those with long crest on the fetlocks. 


The lump is caused by bacteria (Dermatophilus congolensis). The course of disease might be complicated by the viruses, fungi and parasites, for example itch mites. Period of incubation usually is ca. 2 weeks. The first symptoms might be missed by the owner, because they are covered with hair. At first they appear on the upper layers of the skin and appear in the form of slight, dry, calloused scales and warts that are created due to excessively exfoliating epidermis. Later in the development, crusts appear which look like dried mud. They create kind of shell under which bacterias live and proliferate.

Infected places are swollen, painful, what can lead to symptoms of lameness. Uncured lump might spread on to bigger parts of the body, for example the wrists and hock, but also the abdomen, and can be contagious for other horses in the herd. In severe forms of the disease the contracted horses might have fever, lack of appetite, and swelling of the nearby lymph nodes.


Then how to deal with the lump?

Natural ways


  • bowl with warm water
  • grey soap
  • antiseptic preparation (eg. Betadine, Manusan)
  • zinc ointment (you can buy it in a pharmacy without prescription)
  1. Soften the formed scabs with water and soap.
  2. When the scabs will be soft enough remove them.

NOTE: remove only those scabs which fall off themselves - they should not be plucked with force as we will cause another wounds that will become the perfect place for bacteria! 

  1. Reddened places after removing the scabs should be fumigated.
  2. After ca. 5 min. wash the antiseptic off the horse's skin.
  3. After the skin dries, the zinc ointment should be applied on the infected places.

The treatment should be repeated if we don't succeed to remove all scabs at the first attempt. It is worth to apply the zinc ointment regularly on the infected area (at least once a day) in order to maintain the constant protective layer on the skin and help it heal.

It is good for the horse to be on relatively dry ground during the recovery.

NOTE: during treatment the boots or wellies cannot be worn be the horse - thay can cause abrasions and create wounds, as well as not allow the skin to breathe freely. 

Preparations for the lump

On the market you will find all sorts of preparations designed to cure the lump.

In my case, the above mentioned natural treatment worked, I didn't have to use any specialist ointments. Any kind of preparation will work only if we remove the scabs first.

Let's remember that before you start any treatment whether natural or with preparations, you should consult a veterinarian. It's not worth to safe at our friend's health :)  The fight against the lump is a long and toilsome process. Even when you think you've already cured it, it usually comes back at certain times of the year. So, it is worth to take care of our horse before infection.

 how to avoid lump

We hope that this article will never prove useful to you and fight against the lump will remain only a story heard from other riders :)