Scratches

‘Tis the season… Let’s face it… I don’t think I know any horse owner that hasn’t had this problem, and if not, it’s probably because they haven’t owned them long enough or their horse is a 🦄. So, what is it? And what do we do about it?

Scratches is that scaly, creepy crawly, crud that seems to appear out of nowhere one day when your horse comes in after turnout, usually When it’s muddy. For a more detailed explanation click here for a great article “Understanding Scratches” by Chad Mendell from The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health.

So what do we do about it…

  1. Run to the nearest Facebook group and ask everyone what to do, and get overwhelmed by answers and a few snarky comments ?
  2. Run you the nearest tack store and get overwhelmed by all the choices on the shelf ?
  3. Try to scrub it while searching for an answer to this pesky problem?

 

Symptoms

Does your Horse have any of these Symptoms?

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Swollen legs

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Thickened Skin

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Bleeding scabs

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redness

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Sensitivity

Let’s try this…

The fact is there are a TON of products to try, as well as a variety of homemade cures that horseman far and wide swear by.

I find that no matter what the potion, if you can soften the scales prior to treating with any product it makes life soo much easier. This can be done By gently washing with some Betadine, anti fungal, or mild soap, and water. However, many horses have a strong opposition to this, which is why many recommend softening with Furacin and applying a standing wrap for a day or two, and then you can clean with Betadine and apply the potion of your choosing.

Sometimes, you will find recommendations on having a sample taken by your vet and tested to see whether it’s fungal or bacterial in nature. I asked my vet about this method, in which she replied it isn’t the easiest and may yield false results because the legs are an easily contaminated area. This is why many recommendations are to create a mixture of antibacterial ointment and an antifungal cream usually mixed with a diaper rash cream as a moisture barrier. For years this was my go to, but have found that sometimes stubborn cases of this crud have become immune to this concoction.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find a product that cured this product really easily. DermacureRX is a stinky green goo that cleared up lingering scratches on one of my hoses that just didn’t want to go away. I will say this might not be for all horses as I did put it on a particularly sensitive mare, and found In her case it made the spot angry, so I had to wash it off and used something stronger that was recommended by my vet. I bring this up because there isn’t going to be a magic cure all like Windex was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Be leery of products that say they cure all skin conditions, and take it with a grain of salt that those products are probably good for some things, but not everything. The Dermacure can also be applied and wrapped to soften the scabs, so potentially it could be an all in one cure, but I have not done this yet as my horses were healed without needing to wrap it.

These are just a few methods I have used. If anyone reading has any feedback or other known great fixes please email and I will add on to this post.

Have a happy mud season and talk soon!

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