Skin condition - extremely concerned

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Lil Timber Buck

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I need some help here. We've been struggling with skin allergies for about 5 years but they are not getting better. I took him to the University of Tennessee for skin allergies testing. After 65 test spots only 2 came back - lanolin and gnats. I avoid any sprays and have added a fan to his room to help with gnats but here we are still. It's not mange, not lice, not anything else according to them but he stays miserable. So itchy and scratched the hair off in several places, the skin is thickened and wrinkled with scabs in the folds. I started him on over the counter allergy meds called allehist H with no luck. I got the vet to write a prescription for allergy meds, still no luck. I'm trying oatmeal baths, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar. Any one help?????? Please. He is on a dry lot, 30 mins of turnout, hay, nutrena special care lol carb/sugar/etc and small grass pellet. Add vitamin E and an apple a day electrolytes with the prescription allergy med.
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Minimor

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I would suggest having a skin punch biopsy done. That way your vet can test for other things. There is a condition called horse pemphigus foliaceus--an autoimmune disease that makes the horse's immune system attack its own skin. 5 years is a long time to go without treatment so probably it is not that--but it would be worth making sure. I had a Morgan with a severe reaction to fly bites. He would get big open sores. I started spraying him with KRS (I think that is the right name) and it helped him a lot.
 

Abby P

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If he's allergic to gnats, you might need to apply a barrier to prevent the bites entirely. I am not sure if they come in mini sizes but you need a "sweet itch rug":


You'd have to measure, they do go down fairly small it looks like. You'd also want the mask that goes along with it. It's worth trying anyway. The zebra pattern will also keep large biting flies (deerflies, horseflies, etc.) away completely.

My dog has/had pemphigus, managed now, it was pretty awful and dramatic. Not sure it presents the same way in horses but the immune system attacks the pigmented skin cells. He just about clawed his own face off and there is no way he could have lasted 5 years with it untreated...so hopefully it isn't that but I agree it might be worth ruling out!
 

LostandFound

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If that's just a gnat allergy it doesn't look like any I have seen before. But if you have gnats year round that might make a difference. I have had a lot of luck with using the spot on fly treatment for milder gnat allergies. I make sure I dab a little bit where it's bad. I like freedom 45 from tractor supply best. It works good for ticks and horses that get milder sweet itch from the gnats, but doesn't do much for flies at all.
 

HersheyMint

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So sorry he is having a reaction. We all hurt when our horses hurt, don't we.
I read good suggestions for you on here. I sure hope you find what works.
 

Cayuse

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I agree with Minimor, a biopsy might be the next step. Any vet should be able to do one and send the results out to a animal dermatologist for interpretation if they are stumped. I have a horse with cutaneous lupus and the only way we could get a definitive answer was through a biopsy. Have you tried Zyrtec? If it's allergies sometimes they respond better to one med over another and it's a matter of finding the right one.
Has he been on the Nutrena Special Care for the past five years? Maybe try pulling that for awhile and see what happens. I also have a pony with allergies (I got lucky with the skin conditions) and he cannot eat any commercial feeds, something in them sets him off with massive hives. We have not been able to identify the specific ingredient that is the trigger. Keep us posted!
 

Lil Timber Buck

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If that's just a gnat allergy it doesn't look like any I have seen before. But if you have gnats year round that might make a difference. I have had a lot of luck with using the spot on fly treatment for milder gnat allergies. I make sure I dab a little bit where it's bad. I like freedom 45 from tractor supply best. It works good for ticks and horses that get milder sweet itch from the gnats, but doesn't do much for flies at all.
I've tried the spot treatment. Not really any help but thank you!
 

Lil Timber Buck

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I agree with Minimor, a biopsy might be the next step. Any vet should be able to do one and send the results out to a animal dermatologist for interpretation if they are stumped. I have a horse with cutaneous lupus and the only way we could get a definitive answer was through a biopsy. Have you tried Zyrtec? If it's allergies sometimes they respond better to one med over another and it's a matter of finding the right one.
Has he been on the Nutrena Special Care for the past five years? Maybe try pulling that for awhile and see what happens. I also have a pony with allergies (I got lucky with the skin conditions) and he cannot eat any commercial feeds, something in them sets him off with massive hives. We have not been able to identify the specific ingredient that is the trigger. Keep us posted!
He was on the purine mini horse feed for years and I started having issues with weight and thrush on both my guys. I switched to the special care about 4 years ago and it's worked wonders for both those issues. I can't remember what started the itching other than heat. Heat makes it worse. He's fine in the winter
 

Lil Timber Buck

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I agree with Minimor, a biopsy might be the next step. Any vet should be able to do one and send the results out to a animal dermatologist for interpretation if they are stumped. I have a horse with cutaneous lupus and the only way we could get a definitive answer was through a biopsy. Have you tried Zyrtec? If it's allergies sometimes they respond better to one med over another and it's a matter of finding the right one.
Has he been on the Nutrena Special Care for the past five years? Maybe try pulling that for awhile and see what happens. I also have a pony with allergies (I got lucky with the skin conditions) and he cannot eat any commercial feeds, something in them sets him off with massive hives. We have not been able to identify the specific ingredient that is the trigger. Keep us posted!
Would it make a difference if he is fine in the winter? This only happens when it's hot and he's shed out
 

Lil Timber Buck

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I would guess if it's seasonal it wouldn't be feed related then. I'm curious, does he sunburn or does the condition get worse when he's in the sun? My guy with lupus has to go out covered in the summer because the stronger sun triggers it.
Nope no sunburning
 

Silver City Heritage Farmstead

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I have human lupus, and am photosensitive. I wonder if it's similar in horses? Though I don't burn super easily, I DO have flares with too much sun exposure. Maybe you could try keeping him in the shade between 10:00-3:00 and see if it helps? Or only turn out at night? We had several Arabs in the show barn that had something similar. Vet couldn't figure it out, owners wanted to concentrate on showing and not on looking for a cause. Those horses were all kept on shredded corn cob bedding, rolled oats/wheat bran/alfalfa pellets dampened with apple cider vinegar in water, and turned out at night only. We even had some that broke out with those weird lines as soon as they'd been bathed. No shampoo for those guys! And no bathing in the sun. We bathed them in the indoor arena with water from buckets. They received the most grooming. ALWAYS rinsed in vinegar water after being thoroughly scrubbed down with water after each workout. I'm racking my brain to remember what else we did.

Ohhh...we used cool water on them when washing. The coolest we could, no matter the time of year. I always remember the Most Classic Head winning mare after we'd bathed her for the Ft. Worth Fat Stock show. She got her cool bath....then shivered something fierce until we got the two sweat rugs and two layers of blankets onto her!

Also, is your dry lot super sandy? Do you use diatomeceous earth anywhere on your place? Or anywhere that he rolls where the ground looks "sparkly"? Are there sheep (or have there been) anywhere in or near your paddocks? Does he walk any trails, either in his pasture, paddock or elsewhere, where vines or brush sweep across his sides?

Just a bunch of questions to follow a theory.😆😆
 

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