McKee-Pownall Equine Services | How-To


How To Sweat a Leg

Why Do This?

Sweating a leg is useful for the treatment and prevention of limb edema (stocking up), to increase local circulation in arthritic joints and soft tissue injuries, and to alleviate tightness and discomfort.


You will need the following items:

  • Saran Wrap
  • Sweat (straight furacin ointment or medicated mixture provided by vet)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Stable bandage and cotton

How To

Be sure the leg is clean and dry. Check for small cuts and scrapes, which may be reactive. It is best to clip excessively hairy legs and fetlocks.

Wearing gloves, apply a thin layer of sweat over the leg from just below the knee/hock, to the bottom of the fetlock. Stroke on in the direction of the hair, do not rub up and down.

Roll a few layers of Saran wrap around the leg, then apply a regular standing bandage over top.

Initially, keep the leg sweated at all times, unless the bandage tends to slip when the horse is turned out. Make sure the leg gets a "breather" every day, and avoid excessive accumulation of medications on the skin. After the initial period, horses typically go onto an overnight sweat/open during the day regimen. Your veterinarian will provide guidelines for this.

Horses with sensitive skin (especially chestnuts and white legs) may develop scurf and irritation. If you have never applied a sweat before, consider starting with straight furacin, and apply a thin layer of disposable sheet cotton over the leg before putting on the Saran wrap. Slight scurfing is not a cause for concern.

If your horse cannot tolerate any topical medications, contact us for alternative bandaging solutions.