Scratches Less

What is Scratches?

Scratches (also known as mud fever, mud rash, greasy heel, grease heel and equine pastern dermatitis) is a progressive dermatitis that appears on the back of the pastern and/or heel bulb. It is a syndrome rather than a single disease caused by a mixed bag of bacterial infections, dermatophytosis, mite infestation, photosensitisation, irritant contact, moisture (wet bedding and muddy pasture) or vasculitis. In most cases it is difficult to determine the exact underlying causes.

The infection often starts as a small red ulceration of the skin in the plantar pastern region of the legs. The pastern is a part of the leg between the fetlock and the top of the hoof. The lesions then grow, develop scaling with the formation of a crust or an open wound, hair loss, edema and the release of a malodorous exudate. Skin fissures and papillomatous lesions can develop in chronic cases. The condition may even cause the horse to become lame.

Natural, Innovative Treatment

Environmental modifications are important and include: avoiding pasture and paddock with mud and water as well as keeping the horses in clean and dry stalls. If contact allergy is suspected, changing the bedding is recommended.

General recommendations for treatment include clipping the hair from the pastern to allow them to dry, cleansing with a disinfectant like chlorhexidine and the topical application of antibiotic agent (2% mupirocin). Some veterinarians use a product called Dermacloth® instead of water and detergents to clean the wound. Some other veterinarians also use a water repellent bandage.
There is a new natural and clinically proven solution to equine scratches Scratches Less™.

Our Clinically Proven Product

For use as an aid in the control of equine scratches, mud fever, greasy heal, and equine pastern dermatitis.

  • 100% natural with soothing, effective plant extracts
  • Features kunzea oil with demonstrated antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Salicin from white willow bark adds astringent and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Clinically-proven to reduce skin lesions in a controlled trial in horses.


  • 4 oz squeeze bottle
  • Kunzea ambigua oil, white willow bark extract, zinc oxide, sulfur, sesame oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, lanolin.


  • Wash hands after application
  • For animal use only
  • For external Use Only
  • Keep out of the reach of children

Before/After: See the Results

Before: Untreated horse leg with infected equine pastern dermatitis.

After: Scratches infection healed with ArcaNatura’s natural Scratches Less cream


See Clinical Trials for more Detailed information

Only the best Natural Ingredients

Kunzea from Tasmania

Scratches less contains natural plant extracts including Kunzea ambigua oil, white willow bark extract, zinc oxide, sulfur, beeswax, oil.

Kunzea oil is a naturally antibacterial mixture of various natural elements that penetrate into the outer layers of the skin to kill pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Kunzea ambigua is an Australian native shrub found in Tasmania. Commonly known as “tick bush,” anecdotal reports claim that animals seek refuge from biting insects by sleeping beneath the shrubs.


Willow Bark from California

Willow bark extract adds astringent and anti-inflammatory properties to the antimicrobial effect of kunzea oil. Salicylate containing plants such as willow have been used since antiquity in the 1st century after BC. Dioscoride, a Greek physician recommended to use teas from leaves and bark of Willow to treat gout, skin disease and hepatitis. The extract used in Scratched Less contains 95 % salicin. Salicin can be compared to a natural form of aspirin.

Some benefits of white willow bark extract include:
-Proven pharmacological properties:
-Astringent (causing contraction of soft tissues)
-Fever reducing
-Pain reliever


Environmental modifications to further prevent scratches on your horse are important and include avoiding pasture and paddocks with mud and water and maintaining dry indoor stalls. Bedding should be changed regularly if contact allergy is suspected to irritate the infection. Watch the video below for step by step instructions, or alternatively follow our picture based directions positioned just below the video.

Step 1: Clipping

Area to be treated should be clipped and cleaned prior to product application.

Step 2: Cleaning

If cleansing the wound prior to application, be sure to use a small amount of warm water with some mild soap and rinse carefully to eliminate any trace of detergent to avoid irritation.

Step 3: Drying

Always dry the skin before you apply the product.

Step 4: Applying

Apply sufficient ointment to cover the affected skin and surrounding tissue.

Apply twice daily for 7 days.

Clinically-Proven Results

Kunzea oil in an ointment has demonstrated clinical efficacy in the treatment of equine scratches in an active control double blinded randomized trial with complete resolution of lesion in over 60% horses (Thomas, J. et al 2009 Veterinary Record 164, 619-629).

Treated horses typically show a significant decrease in total lesion area, wound severity and lameness within a week. These results have been confirmed with microbiological testing showing eradication of both Staphylococcus bacteria and Microsporum fungi. Arcanatura’s natural scratches product was also significantly more effective than the control formulation containing the antifungal agent ketonazole (18% cure).