The skin is the largest organ of body. It is very important to keep your horse’s coat as clean as possible. Protect your horse’s eyes from fly-borne infections with a natural fly repellent or fly fringe. There are many disorders that affect the skin, including the following:
This is common in humans and in horses. Horses seem to be more sensitive to the chemicals and other pollutants in the environment. The most common form of skin allergy is hives (urticaria).
This is a fungal infection, which causes the hair to become matted and fall out, leaving bare patches 2,5cm to 3cm in diameter. Ringworm is highly contagious.
This is a common problem in horses kept in large numbers without regular care and inspection. The minute insect will establish itself in a thick winter coat. The bites of these insects can lead to the horse scratching itself. Mange Mites cause mange. These little mites burrow under the skin and cause extreme itching. Very often a horse will rub the skin until there is a weeping scabby wound. Sarcoptic mange affects the neck.
Psoroptic mange is likely to affect the mane and tail. It can also occur in the ear, which can cause head-shaking.
Chiroptic mange affects the fetlock area in winter – the horse will stamp its feet to help relieve the irritation.
This is an allergy to the bites of the Cullicoides midges. Horses that are sensitive to these bites only show signs in summer and early autumn. The mane and tail is rubbed.
Mud fever, greasy heel, rain scald
These three conditions are associated with the wetting of the skin, which washes out the natural protective oils.
This common injury comes from a kick or a collision with an obstacle, causing tiny blood vessels to break and leak blood into the skin.
Any open wound that bleeds needs first-aid attention or stitches.
Fly and mosquito bites
Flies and mosquitoes can cause an allergic reaction. Where the skin has been bitten there are numerous raised lumps up to 1cm in diameter.
All these conditions need treatment. Ensure your horse is kept clean and free from insects and mites. It is a good idea to feed garlic and dip regularly with a product registered for horses.
Prevention is better than cure. If the skin does react to an invader it is also a possible sign that the immune system needs help. Take echinacea and garlic internally and apply diluted tea tree externally. – Kim Dyson Contact Kim Dyson on 082 888 6511.