Any ideas what this might be?

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Nov 30, 2002
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Hi all,

I have a coming 3 yr. old filly that has come down with some kind of skin problem. She is currently on antibiotics and waiting for the results of test. She is painful enough that it hurts her to walk. She is eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom normal.

No feed changes, no move, no other changes that I can think of. She [/b]was in with one other horse and currently that horse is fine.

If you could look at the pics and give me any constructive thoughts, I would appreciate it.


*** Pictures on are on this link
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I'm stumped!
I was thinking maybe heat rash? Maybe lice? I would put MTG on it and keep her out of the sun when you put it on. Ask the vet first to make sure there is no reaction with the antibiotics you are already giving her.

Shelia B.
Is it weepy or oozing any fluid at all? It looks very dry & scaly, but can't be sure from the pix.
Mange? [Do horses get mange? I really don't know.]

Allergies? -- What are you feeding her? Hay? Grain? I know you said no changes, but perhaps she developed a sensitivity.

Is she itchy? Has she been rubbing on stuff? It kind of looks like when they rub so much, and so hard that they rub the hair off and irritate the skin. [My guys were so itchy, they started rubbing themselves bald on whatever would hold still long enough to rub on. I gave up and clipped them, even though winter isn't quite through yet.]
That looks like what my horse has except yours is much worse. Mine has little dots all over both sides of her neck. Also ti extends past her shoulder. I didn't know she had anything until I clipped her. I have been adding oil to her grain and She is getting another bath as soon as this stupid snow gets past us in the next couple of days. I have also been using a liquid athleats foot spray on it. Hrs is clearing up. I would post a pic but this computer doesn't support my new camera.
This could be caused by a million things, lice, rain rot, over exposure to the elements or an allergic reation to something you can be feeding. Don't get mad at me for asking but are you keeping your stalls nice and clean, dry, urine free, fresh bedding and airey? Double check your sanitary conditions and consider stripping your stalls down to nothing, air dry and rebed. Reminds me I have some stall stripping of my own to do (sigh)..

This looks to me like it could be a staff infection

Here's a link you might find helpful

Sorry to hear about it and good luck and best wishes for a speedy recovery
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I don't have a clue what it could be, but hope you get some insight here and that the tests will give answers, too.

How long has she been having this and did it come on suddenly, or slowly over time? That may help some others come up with possible answers.

Poor baby! Good luck with her and I hope she's feeling better soon!
Looks a lot like severe rain rot to me. No matter what it is it wont heal until you get that winter hair off. Can you at least clip the bad spots?? Meds cant get down in there with all that hair. A lot of skin problems are caused by fungus lingering in that thick coat.
I had something like that in the much milder form on a filly that I bought years ago...

It happened as the weather was warming up I remember

We used some Equine medicated shampoo on her regularly to keep it from getting worse.

It eventually did clear up..

hope this helps.

Something everyone should keep in mind at this time of year is that the hay is no longer rich in vitamins as it was last summer when it was baled. Vitamin supplements are a good idea at this time to be sure that their systems have everything they need to keep healthy. Vitamin A is important to skin health. Horses that are lacking will be more prone to developing skin diseases and will get them much worse than they would if they were strong and healthy.
If this was my horse I would first worm her well with Ivomectin. Then give her a really good bath with a medicated shampoo (for fungus or an iodine type shampoo) let the lather sit on her for 5 or so minutes. Rinse well. When dry clip her with a #10 blade. After clipping rebath, same procedure and see what the results are and go from there.

Looks to me like she could have some lice, but, maybe nothing more than lots of winter dirt and trying to shed the old winter coat. If she is with other horses they may be grooming her thus the strange spots, and/or she could be rubbing against a tree, fence, or anything else that will stand still and be a itch post. Get the hair off and let the sunshine in. Then worm again in 30 days.

Just MHO.
Thank you for your replies. She has had it for about 12 days now. She is in a dry lot with a run in for shelter. The sores are dry and very flaky, no oozing. They appear to be very tender, but itchy. As it progresses, the hair falls out, so no hair on the bad spots. It looks like it is the top layer of skin as there is new hair starting to grow in the spot itself. All my horses were grained with Nutrena Senior, alfalfa pellets and a cob mix with oil over the winter. She is currently getting oats with oil and her meds in it. And a 80/20 mix of grass/alfalfa hay. I have bought the hay from the same person for 7-8 yrs., but that doesn't mean it doesn't change. I ask my vet about the hay, but he didn't think it was that. Maybe she has a sensitivity??

I was thinking rain rot, but haven't seen it progress like this before. I am going to bathe her with med. shampoo. I separated her the next day from the one other horse that she was in with. That mare is not showing any sign of a problem. Hopefully, i'll have some news soon as to what it could be.

Thanks again for your suggestions.
Your pictures give me nightmares and make me feel sick.
It is very hard to tell if it is the same thing we had here two years ago or not. Our little gelding when you would touch and pull gently on his hair it would come out in small clumps with what looked like thick white skin patches attached at the roots. He had big bald spots all over him like your horse does. The reason it makes me feel sick is his happened in December and it was very cold. We had to shave him down with a 7 blade, all except for his legs, :Cold-Scared and bathe him every other day for several weeks until we found out what were doing was not working at all. Went to another vet, and he had us bathe him with a special antibacterial shampoo and then put LymeDyp (sp?) on him every other day. After two weeks he was cleared up and growing good hair in. All that time which was more than a month, thanks to the first vet and quite a bit of money, he had to stay stalled by himself and covered in blankets. The shampoo you had to put on him and leave it for 10 minutes before rinsing. We would put heaters in the washhouse but it was still cold for him standing there shaking. I felt so sorry for the little guy, but I think he knew we were helping him. He never got ugly about any of it. I would have if if were me. Both vets thought it was a type of fungus related to ringworm but not it. Very contagious to both humans and the other horses, but none of us ever got it and I mean I was down scrubbing him and loving on the poor guy while he was waiting his time freezing. What else can you do while your saying I'm sorry.
Talk to your vet about using Lyme Dyp and if they feel it could be a fungus, I have never seen anything that bad clear up so quick after we started using it. At least this time of year is better.
Mine have never gotten anything to that extent, but one did have bare patches like your horse and I had the vet out to do skin tests for mange and lice. Nothing showed up in the test results. Because the weather was still too cold to bath her, I used the spray version of Chlorhexiderm that I got from the vet. Within a day or two, the bare patches started to regrow hair and it stopped spreading. Chlorhexiderm is a type of general purpose anti-fungal that they also make as a shampoo. Good luck.
Our little gelding when you would touch and pull gently on his hair it would come out in small clumps with what looked like thick white skin patches attached at the roots. He had big bald spots all over him like your horse does.
Hi Terri,

This sounds like what my filly has. I do believe that my filly is doing better as she is walking around now and don't appear to be in much pain walking now as she was. She isn't hiding like she was either. Hair is starting to grow back in the bare patches too. I'm thinking (hoping & praying too) that's probably what it is also. I'll check on the Lymedyp (sp).

I got a call from my vet yesterday, and he still thinks it's fungus. He didn't find lice or mange. He had been doing alot of checking with other vets and reading and said that it could also be a "rare" Auto-Immune Skin Disease called Pemphigus. There are several variations of it and it doesn't sound like it has favorable long term results as there's no cure. You treat it with Steroids, but don't want to do steroids if it's fungus, because it will make it spread alot worse. We are going to wait until Thurs., then go from there.

I wonder where the fungus comes from? I've never had anything like it, and rarely have even seen rain rot.

Thanks again for all your replies.
Shauna if it is a fungus the LymDip is your best way to go and the quickest. I was told every living thing has fungus on them at all times, and if your resistance is weakened either from a cold or a horses skin quality by long hair for winter, the fungus can take over. It was horrible doing all the bathes and using stuff that did not work, but the LymDip was a godsend. Erica had used it before and directed me to her vet and that is how I got our little geldings cleared up.

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