Mare with unusual skin problems, help please!

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blazingstarranch

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Hello all, I'm looking for help for a mare we sold to a wonderful home recently. Last year, she had a minor break out on her face and ears that was itchy and involved hair loss as the hair came out in tufts. We had a few other horses with a similar problem, and one of those had tiny cactus needles or thorns embedded in the skin. As we live in the high desert, the horses, when on pasture, do have exposure to cactus and thorns. We doctored the horses all with a spray on antiseptic/antifungal and they all recovered quickly including this mare.

She is 7 years old, and a pintaloosa that is predominantly white with blue eyes. We have no health history on her as we got her a little over a year ago when she was kind of thrown in on a deal with another horse we purchased.

Her symptoms were first noticed the day her new owner came to pick her up. I felt terrible, because I had not noticed it before. Now the new owner reports that she seems to be sweating abnormally in spite of bitter cold temperatures, and that the skin problems have spread down her neck and legs and her face and ears are pretty bad. She appears itchy but also perhaps sore. To describe the skin, it's like lots of small, crusty scabs that peel away when you rub them. It reminds me of rain rot, but we live in a dry climate.

Can anyone shed some light on this? We feel terrible and want to help the new owner get this resolved asap.

Thank you!
 
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Marty

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Sounds terribly painful. Did you ever shave her off in the summer? That would/could have definately helped. If she were shedding and you didn't help her out by clipping her off the rest of the way and left her to sweat in the heat, she could have very well got clamy under there which would have caused all kinds of skin problems such as itching and rain rot related skin issues. It could still be underneath all that hair she has now. However lots of horses are predisposed to this anyhow especially when not properly sheltered. Allergies come in many forms and biting insects over the summer could have set her off and caused skin infection. If she has an infection that could explain how she is now sweating and maybe could be running a fever. It would be best to get the vet involved. Since this is the dead of winter, to save you a lot of guess work, have the vet do a skin scraping to see what's going on under the fur. He might want to draw blood. You'll probably find out the problem is within and not external. Sometimes they will put them on a steriod to help control the itching and give some relief. Last but not least, she could just have a food allergy and changes might be in order. But again, you would be wasting your time guessing so I'd be getting a vet involved. Best wishes.
 
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blazingstarranch

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Yes, the vet is involved, and wanted her new owner to talk to me and see if I had any insight. But she shed out her winter coat this spring and was smooth and sleek. This current problem can't have been going on that long. However, thinking about biting insects, we have had an awful time with biting stable flies. We have NEVER had such a problem. The dogs had to all be be indoors, they were getting chewed alive. One of our other horses broke out in hives from head to toe several times. And it was warm enough that those stupid flies lived clear on into November! Do you think this could be it?
 

Minimor

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If nothing else can be diagnosed, I would suggest doing a punch biopsy (the vet takes little plugs of skin--just scraping the skin to get some surface cells will not work) and testing for horse pemphigus. What you describe does sort of fit the symptoms so it would be worth considering.
 

walkermini

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I cant say for sure, but it sounds similar to a mare I have that has sweet itch. I got this mare in March of this year, and she had no issues at all until October. She developed the crusty scab things all over like you described. My mare was also very sore. We have lived here for almost ten years and never had another horse with this issue. Sweet itch is caused by gnats/midges. Many horses dont have a problem, but the horses that are allergic get the bites/scabs all over. I had the vet out and he did a skin biopsy to rule out anything else. He gave her a steroid injection which helped a little, but I didnt want to keep doing that because it can cause laminitis. My mare is alot better now since our bug season is finally almost done. When she was having the problem, I tried different things but Calm Coat worked best, and I used Ultra Block fly spray. I plan to start her on a garlic supplement this coming year before fly season to hopefully help keep them from biting her. SO anyway not sure if its the same thing as the mare you mentioned but thought I would mention this just in case.
 

jess - bentley

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http://useventing.com/news/rain-rot-ringworm-lumps-and-bumps-skin-disease-refresher

Hi, Does this mare usually sweat more then others? maybe the sweating is causing a moist invironment for some kind of bacteria or fungus to grow? I would use a good antimicrobial soap on her, let in sit for ten minutes before washing it off and repeat it a few times. Oxydex is a good antimicrobial soap. If it is to cold to wash the horse then the vet can do a culture and sometimes treat from the inside out with antibiotics, depending what it is.
 
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frankarmes

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I agree that the problem could be because of sweating, it may cause the spread of the bacterias. But would be better to consult a veterinarian and to find out the real cause of the problem. Regarding the breaks on her face that caused the hair loss, a solution could be the hair transplant. I know that it may sound strange, but it was just a suggestion. I have a friend whose horse suffered from hair loss and as I know he found on thehairlossadvisor.com some information regarding it. I thought it may be useful for you, too.
 

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