Advice for Treating Horse Skin Problems
By Don Blazer
Go to the barn, look at your horse, and you are going to see a lump, a bump, a scratch, or
a sore. You are going to see these things on his face, neck, shoulder, girth, back, legs, or behind the pastern. Most lumps, bumps and scrapes are minor. But if you see Ringworm, Rain Rot,
Scratches or Hives, then your horse has a problem and you have a duty, get busy and get rid of it.
Ringworm, frequently called girth itch, is a fungus that feeds on dead skin and hair, but
doesn’t invade living tissue, although you’ll see scaly or crusty patches of skin that look somewhat
like a scrape. Ringworm will cluster in dime to quarter-sized spots, which will be quite irritating to
your horse who in turn may be trying to scratch the area making everything worse. You can, of course, follow conventional wisdom and bathe your horse with an iodine-based shampoo made
specifically for equine fungus problems. Or you can use Lotrimin (anti-fungal cream for humans);
which is my first choice. Apply the salve directly on the lesions. The way we used to do it was
mix a thin paste of “rose dust” and water and apply that to the lesion. Rose dust contains
“captan,” a fungicide used to dust plants, of course. It works quite well. Ringworm is highly
contagious, so disinfect blankets, towels, brushes, girths, saddle pads and anything else that might come in contact with another horse. You can get ringworm too, so be sure to wash with an
iodine-based soap before touching your nose or handling another horse.
Scratches is seen quite often when rain and winter weather arrive. Also known as greasy
heel or mud fever, scratches can be very painful for your horse, even causing lameness.
Scratches is an infection, with swelling, inflammation and open sores on the back of the pastern.
While it can be caused by a number of things, the most common cause is chronically muddy, wet and unsanitary conditions; the kind of conditions you see in small pens. The most effective
treatment I’ve seen is the use of SMZ (sulphur) tablets made into a paste and applied to the
cleaned and dried infected area. You can get the tablets from you veterinarian and apply the
paste yourself. Be careful, sometimes scratches are so painful, your otherwise tolerant horse may
become a kicker. Wash the scratches with an antiseptic soap or an antibacterial shampoo, leave the soap or shampoo on for five to 10 minutes, then rinse and dry. Clean and dry are the key
elements to stop scratches that can take up to two weeks to heal.
Rain Rot is caused by a bacteria which attacks moist skin. Biting insects can spread it.
Rain Rot can get so bad that big hunks of hair will come out leaving ulcerated sores. While rain
rot does not usually cause a lot of itching, it can cause the horse to be depressed and lose his
appetite. Rain Rot is usually seen across the back and rump, where the horse gets the most rain.
To make treatment more effective, it is a good idea to clip the hair around the sores. Again, be
careful, clipping can cause pain. Wash the contaminated area with an iodine based scrub or an antiseptic shampoo. You may have to treat the condition several times a day for a week or more.
Hives are an allergic reaction that can be caused by dusts, molds, biting insects, weeds or
even a change in feed. You’ll feel terrible about what you think your horse is suffering, but he
probably isn’t too uncomfortable. Give him a bath with cool water, and while you are washing
him think about what you have changed in his environment. It could be new bedding (shavings or
straw), a new fly repellant, new feed or new “treats.” In any case, if the hives don’t disappear
within 24 hours, consult your vet. Hives can cause depression, severe itching, loss of appetite.
Generally your vet will treat the condition with steroids or antihistamines.
Ringworm, Rain Rot, Scratches and Hives may not be more than skin deep, but they are
still no fun for your horse. And they can definitely put a damper on your riding schedule. Visit A Horse, Of Course on the Internet at
Make Money With Horses By Don Blazer
Committing is difficult and keeping commitments is more difficult. To be successful in business you must make a commitment to yourself, you must commit to your goals and you must commit to
others. Keeping commitments builds trust. But keeping commitments means taking a position, taking a stand, taking action. Taking action requires courage.
Here are some tips from author Peter McWilliams to help you make commitments and keep them.
1. Learn to say, “no.” When you commit to yourself and to your goals, you have to make
choices - you have to say, “no” to those things that take your time or blur your focus. You can
have anything, but you can’t have everything. Say, “no.” Don’t commit and you won’t break a commitment.
2. Don’t make commitments you don’t intend to keep. It’s common to hear, “I’ll get back
with you tomorrow…” or “let’s get together next week.” You know you don’t mean it; so don’t
say it. You may think it doesn’t bother a client or someone with whom you are doing
business—but it does, and it labels you in the minds of others. You want to be known for keeping, not breaking commitments.
3. Write your commitments down, they seem more important that way and you are less likely
to ignore them. Now if you really, really need to fail at a commitment, re-negotiate at the earliest
opportunity. And re-negotiate in a positive way: “I know we had an agreement, and I intend to
keep it, but I’ve got a time problem and I’m asking if we can reschedule.”
4. Keep your commitments, it will do wonders for your business reputation and you’ll be
surprised as how much easier it is to keep new commitments after you’ve had lots and lots of practice.
Contact: Don Blazer
7119 E Shea Blvd Ste 109-271
Scottsdale, Arizona 85254