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The skin - common problems

The skin, along with all other organs, can be host to disease or parasites, some contagious, others not.

In the contagious category ringworm, mite infestations and young horse’s warts are pretty prevalent.

Ringworm is a common mycosis spread from one horse to another by skin contact with contaminated tack, rugs or brushes. It can also be spread by humans (stable hands and riders) and stable dogs.
This skin disease is most often found in stabled horses, as horses who live outdoors are generally more resistant, on top of this the fungus doesn’t like the cold.
Careful: Humans as well as horses can contract ringworm!

Ringworm is characterized by small, round bald patches, sometimes clustered together, flaky areas of skin, scabs and hair loss. If in doubt, a sending a scraping of skin to the lab will confirm a diagnosis.
During treatment one must imperatively disinfect all tack, rugs and brushes that have been in contact with the contaminated animal. The horse’s stable must also be thoroughly cleaned. Veterinary antifungal lotion (Imaveral) is used to treat ringworm. This product kills the fungus but not the spores. Therefore, a few days after the first application, the spores will become fungus and thus one must reapply the lotion. Generally one treats the horse four times with three days in between each application.
If you wish to use natural products try Equi’shamp 2 in 1 along with a few drops of Tea Tree 100% essential oil bio.
The immune system also plays a very important role: for its general upkeep give your horse a course of Equi’drink Immunotonic, Equi’drink Drainage along with a course of Biotics, anti-oxidants (D-Tox) and Iodamine Equine: a deficiency in iodine in a horse’s system will facilitate and amplify mycosis contamination.

Horse lice live in the coat. Their movement and bites cause irritation and itching. This causes the horse to scratch himself against available walls or trees. The neck and shoulder are the body parts which are most prone to infestation.
If your horse does not suffer from sweet itch or allergies and is scratching a lot, keep in mind that it may be due to a lice infestation. You will be able to see them moving around or you may recognise their presence by small, oval, pale coloured eggs. Applying Louse Powder once every six weeks should eliminate the problem.

Warts (in young horses)
Often a young horse will grow warts, especially around the nose, mouth, fetlock joints and genitals. They are very contagious and caused by the papilloma virus. Generally, treatment is uncalled for: after 3 or 4 months the youngster’s immune system will be able to clear them up.
Our advice is to strengthen the horse’s natural resistance to them by giving him a supplement containing magnesium, copper and zinc, such as D-Tox or Iodamine Equine. You can also apply Equi’balm Tea Tree directly to the warts.

Dermatitis- Allergic reactions
Sometimes a horse will become sensitive to certain substances or materials which make contact with the horse’s skin. This may cause a redness of the skin, hair loss and itchy skin: the horse will try to skin itself. This problem can be triggered by contact with synthetic materials, but also by anti-insect sprays, shampoos or even certain plants. Antipruritic creams can be used to help soothe the itching. However, to avoid these inconveniences, it is important to identify what’s causing them.
You may wish to try treating the allergy by using the following products: D-Itch, Equi’drink Immunotonic, Equi Derma, Equi’drink Drainage or Equi’mix Itch-free along with Biotics.

The horse will develop oedema bumps all over his body in less than an hour. Hives is an allergic reaction to insect saliva, medicine, ointment, food etc. Sometimes it goes hand in hand with a fever, a loss of condition and/or a decreased appetite. Generally it will clear itself up: meanwhile it is a good idea to investigate what’s causing hives in order to take the right action against them. We recommend using: Equi’drink Immunotonic, Biotics, followed up by a cure of Iodamine Equine.

Horses that suffer from photosensitivity will have inflamed skin, especially in non-pigmented areas, due to hypersensitivity to the sun or even to light. The skin becomes hot, red and edematous. Bacterial complications may arise.
Very often, one may notice that the horse is having hepatic problems: certain toxins, instead of being eliminated by the liver, will be circulating in the blood at a cutaneous level. Exposure to the sun will cause these molecules to be freed and to damage the skin. We advise that you protect your horse from the sun by using Equi’drink Drainage or B.L.K. and Biotics.

Mud fever and cracked heels
Mud fever is not actually a fever; instead it is a bacterial inflammation of the fetlock joint. Its development is favoured by:
*presence of mud, humidity but also dust during dry periods;
*a dirty stable (with presence of ammonia) and overgrazed fields with excessive amounts of droppings;
*a lack of exercise causing slow blood circulation in the legs;
*hypersensitivity to the sun or to certain nutriments such as clover, alfalfa or molasses;
*irritation from clipping;
*small cuts, from over-reach boots for example;
*a weakening of the system: in particular, hepatic problems, an unbalanced intestinal flora and stress, amongst others, will contribute to the problem;
*horses with very little skin pigment and those with dense and long hair (Friesian, Shire) are more particularly prone to these afflictions.

*moist skin will crack and become infected. This infection will cause swelling and redness of the skin;
*a flaky yet moist eczema will develop afterwards;
*cracks found in the heel will often be covered in scabs;
*the horse may become lame.
If the problem is not treated quickly, mud fever may spread up the whole leg and affect the flexor muscles and/or the lymphatic system (lymphangitis).

How to treat this problem?
*remove the horse from the mud and put him in a very clean and dry stable;
*wash the affected zone with a disinfectant shampoo and dry without rubbing the cracks. Never brush or scratch the lesions;
*the scab is a barrier for ointments, if needs be, soften the scabs by putting vaseline on them overnight, possibly covering the area with a bandage;
*cut off excessive amounts of hair;
*apply ointments with gloves; make sure that the container holding the ointment stays clean: hygiene is very important!
*if the wounds are open, apply Equi’balm Tea Tree directly to them. When they heal and the wounds are less painful, continue the treatment by applying MSM ointment or Mud Gard Ointment.
Keep in mind that a school or arena with a sand surface will not help improve the horse’s condition. Maintain your horse’s skin clean and dry. You can help your horse’s overall condition with Equi’drink Immunotonic, D-Tox or %Mud Gard%.

Tumours: Sarcoids
This is the most common cutaneous tumour in horses, especially between 2 and 6 years.
It starts with a virus, but which type is not established. In certain bloodlines there appears to be a predisposition to contraction of sarcoids.
They prefer to grow in humid areas: the armpit, behind the ears, around the eyes etc.
One must consult a vet when your horse has warts.
Our advice is to strengthen his system, first of all with Equi’drink Drainage and Biotics, and then follow this up with Equi’drink Immunotonic, D-Tox or Iodamine Equine. On the sarcoids themselves you can apply Equi’balm Tea Tree.

Tumours : Melanoma
These tumours attack pigmented cells. They occur often in grey horses (more than 60% of cases) that are older than 6 years old.
Certain bloodlines are more sensitive to this affliction. Although they are benign tumours, they can cause problems, depending on where they are located: around the anus, under the tail, on the neck. Always ask your vet for guidance. Our advice: see “sarcoids”.

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