|Photo credit: 5 Acre Dream (inactive since 2013)|
|Photo credit: Vetnext.com|
I've only ever had to deal with 2 horses (knock wood) who regularly presented with scratches - a chestnut pacer on my grooming string years ago, & Mr Shoes' personal mount, a black 1/2 Morgan mare. The chestnut mare was working on a limestone track in a semi-tropical region & required daily treatment year-round to control her problem. Our black mare gets scratches only in the summertime & only on her rear legs (which have white socks & pink skin); this limited presentation suggests to me that her issue could be more related to sunburn/sensitivity. This year I am experimenting with whether sunblock will prevent an outbreak & prove my theory about the cause of scratches for this particular horse.
If your horse has a lot of thick hair or feathering, you may wish to trim it back so that you can more easily apply treatment & monitor the progress; Mr Shoes' mare has neither so I don't trim at all because I believe that the hair she does have is at least some barrier to the sun. For the successful treatment of scratches I rely on an old horseman's remedy made of inexpensive ingredients readily available at your local Whateveryouwant-mart or pharmacy.
|Attentive treatment will ease Scratches quite rapidly|
- 4 oz diaper rash ointment (Zinc Oxide 40%)
- 2 oz triple antibiotic ointment (no name brand)
- 2 oz cortisone ointment (no name brand)
If you are coming late to the party & the sores are oozing, open, or if there are a lot of scabs, then apply a more liberal amount twice daily until you have the situation under control.
Even if the area clears up completely, you should be closely inspecting & touching the area daily to ensure that the scratches do not return. As with any problem, early detection & treatment is key to the comfort & health of your horse!
**Horses with white faces or muzzles, can also develop Scratches (Facial Dermatitis) with sore, scabby, cracked areas on the nose & around the mouth.
Disclaimer: I am not a vet. This anecdotal post is based on my own research & experience as formerly professional Groom & an always & forever Owner. Nothing written herein should be construed as a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian. Rule of thumb ~ If you are unsure or uneasy, call your vet. Your horse will thank you for it.