Equine Skin Conditions can make the difference of a sleek shiny coat or a dull dingy coat in your horse or pony. Equine skin conditions can develop for many reasons. Although most of them are not serious or life threatening, if not taken care of, they can develop into more serious problem. One example of this is parasites in the horse. The initial symptom of a internal parasites is dry, dingy and loose hair particularly on the rump by the tail. If the parasite problem is not corrected, the entire coat of the horse will begin to look shaggy. Parasites like worms feed off the horse and if left untreated can do damage to the intestinal system of the horse. If this goes on too long, the horse may become weak, ill and sluggish, often leading to other equine skin conditions or health issues.
Equine skin conditions can develop slowly or they may come on all at once. Fortunately, most horses have short hair so it’s easier to find equine skin conditions than it is on dogs and cats and animals with long fur or hair. With daily grooming, many of the skin conditions can be spotted right away and taken care of quickly and easily. Equine skin conditions usually fall into two categories. There are those that exhibit itching and hair loss and those that have hair loss with not itching.
Some of the equine skin conditions that cause itching and hair loss are bites from gnats and horn flies, mange and lice. Each of these conditions can be treated with repellants or powders that can be purchased in any store that sells horse supplies. If the horse is in more serious condition, they may need to be seen by a vet. If the horse is suffering from mange, they will need to be quarantined away from the other horses. Once it has been cured, it can be put with the other horses. This safety measure is very important, as it’s much easier to treat one horse than a herd of horses. What most of these equine skin conditions have in common is that the horse will try to scratch himself on anything that is nearby, which is how they manage to rub their hair off, resulting in the hair loss.
The equine skin conditions that cause hair loss and no itching are alopecia, ringworm, skin scald, sarcoids and rain scald. Alopecia is caused by inflammation in the skin. Ringworm is a fungal infection where you will find crusty and scaly lesions. They will need bathing with treatments as well as a checkup from the vet. There are also topical salves to apply on the infection. Skin scald results in hair loss on the lower legs and is caused by poor hygiene in the barn. Rain scald will happen in areas where there is high moisture. A biopsy will usually need to be taken for a correct diagnosis. Most of these equine skin conditions can be easily treated with early treatment.