Every horse owner is bound to come across skin issues at some point. Dermatological problems in horses can be tricky. Diseases are prevalent throughout the year, although some specific ones can be seasonal. Treatment should be swift. Along with alleviating your horses discomfort, the skin is a major organ and the biggest barrier to disease entering any animals internal systems, so you need to be onto it to prevent further complications.
While rarer problems aren’t impossible, there are a core group of issues you’re most likely to face. Let’s take a quick look at these:
Rain Scald- Common in warm, moist environments. A microorganism causes crusty lumps and matted hair that may pull away leaving bald spots.
Greasy Heel (Pastern dermatitis) - Causes inflammation, itching, swelling and scaly scabs primarily on the lower legs.
Ringworm - A fungal infection causing rounded, hairless patches that crust and scab. Very infectious and can be passed on to you from your horse.
Warts - Caused by the Equine Papilloma Virus, lesions are usually found around the muzzle, and more commonly in young horses. Will resolve itself in time through gaining natural immunity, but are highly contagious in the meantime.
Aural Plaques - Whitish crusty plaques that form in the ears. The exact cause is unknown but suspected to be caused by papilloma infection through biting insects.
Staph Infection - Staphylococcus Aureusshows up as warm, painful skin with focal crusts. Some horses are prone to these infections and MRSA (Methicillin resistant s. aureus) is becoming more common in our horse populations, particularly where horses have had frequent antibiotic treatments.