It’s really important to think about the health of your horse’s skin. Weather changes can wreak havoc on your horse’s delicate skin. So can being out in the pasture all day, where it is exposed to the elements. Luckily there are some simple things you can do to ensure your horse’s skin is protected.
Common skin ailments among horses
Before I talk about the ways to protect your horse’s skin, I want to talk about the most common skin ailments you may come across . It’s important as a horse owner that you know these ailments. That way, when you are grooming you can recognize any signs or symptoms before they become larger problems. Here are the most common skin ailments and what to look out for:
● Aural Plaques: Aural plaques are caused by a virus that causes white, flat lesions in the ear.
● Eosinophilic Granuloma: Eosinophilic granuloma is a breakdown of collagen, that is considered an allergy. It leaves large bumps about the size of a dime all over the body.
● Mange: Mange is a parasite that causes small bumps that lead to bald spots and thick, scaly skin.
● Primary Seborrhea: Also known as dandruff, causes small dry flakes of skin usually around the base of the tail or mane.
● Rain Rot: Rain rot is a bacterial infection that grows rapidly in moist conditions. It causes scabbing and matting across your horse’s skin.
● Ringworm: Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes round hairless patches with rough, scabbed skin.
● Warts: Warts are also caused by a virus that causes small, pea-sized cauliflower growths.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Seven ways to help your horse maintain healthy skin
Now that you know the common skin ailments that can affect your horse, here are seven ways you can help prevent them:
1. Feed Your Horse A Healthy Diet:
Horse health starts from the inside out. Just like with humans, horses need a variety of nutrients to maintain healthy skin. You want to feed them a diet that is rich in vitamins including A, C, E, proteins, essential fatty acids, minerals including magnesium, copper, and calcium. Feeding your horse a mixture of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, is a great way to ensure they get all the nutrients they need for healthy, strong skin. I recommend talking to your veterinarian for dietary recommendations. It’s also important that they stay hydrated. So make sure to always have fresh water available.
2. Protect Your Horse From The Sun:
Also like humans, horse’s skin can be damaged from sun exposure. This is a bit tough, since horses are the healthiest when they get to spend plenty of time outdoors. Make sure that your horses have plenty of shade available when they roam. On cooler sunny days, you can use blankets for protection. If your horse does get too much sun exposure, The Balm! Can help. The Balm! is a topical treatment to help relieve skin irritation.
3. Keep Bugs Away
A lot of the common horse diseases are spread by bugs. So one of the biggest horse health care tips is to keep bugs away. This is especially important when it comes to preventative measures for skin health. Almost every major skin ailment is spread by bugs. Beyond these diseases, bug bites can be painful and itchy causing damage to your horse’s skin. I’ve found that keeping the stable clean and using a light misting of Peppermint Summer Protection every day does a great job of keeping the bugs away during the warmer months.
4. Groom Your Horse Every Day
Daily grooming is crucial for your horse’s health and wellbeing. Grooming will clean off dirt, germs, and pathogens that can lead to skin problems. It also helps stimulate your horse’s skin’s natural oil production which wards against many of these problems as well. Make sure to also clean their hooves every day because a lot of the parasites and bacteria enter through the hoof.
5. Clean Your Grooming Tools After Every Use
After you’ve finished grooming your horse, you need to also clean your grooming tools. Grooming tools are a great vehicle for spreading skin diseases if they aren’t properly cleaned after every grooming. Also, make sure to never share your grooming tools among different horses as they can carry contagions from one horse to another.
6. Keep Your Horse’s Skin Dry
A little rain won’t do your horse’s skin any harm. However, when their skin is in a regular state of dampness, whether from atmospheric moisture or regular bathing, it can lead to problems. Skin that is constantly wet is prone to all kinds of infections and chapping.
7. Use Only Natural Skin Care Products
Many horse care products use harsh chemical ingredients. These ingredients can not only dry your horse’s skin and strip away natural oils, but they can also act as skin irritants and cause allergic responses. Your best bet is to use skin care products with only ingredients that your horse would interact with in nature. Natural ingredients also tend to work better for moisturizing than chemical ingredients, supporting healthy skin in your horse.
Ultimately, a horse’s skin is a reflection of their overall health. At Equi-Spa we put our horses’ health above everything else. All of our products are formulated to ensure the natural ingredients not only work, but support healthy skin and coat. If you’d like to learn more about how our natural products can support your horse’s health post a comment below or give us a call or email and I’d be happy to answer all your questions.