Horses are like all other animals, in that they can develop conditions that cause or lead to hair loss. Knowing the common causes of hair loss in horses and how they are treated can help horse owners seek veterinary help or try at-home remedies sooner rather than later so the problem doesn't become worse.
Rain rot is a condition that is seen in many horses that spend a lot of time out in the meadow in damp conditions. It is a bacterial infection that is caused by allowing bacteria to grow in damp conditions. It starts out with skin lesions that will get larger and larger, and will scab over and emit pus. This will cause hairless patches in and around the lesions. Treatment usually involves bathing the horse with antimicrobial shampoo and in more severe cases, antibiotic injections.
Tail rubbing is a common issue for horses in which they rub their tail on their stalls because they are itching. This usually leads to the loss of hair on the tail and around the tail area. Tail rubbing is usually the result of insect sensitivity. Tail rubbing can be treated by controlling insect populations and some may need to be treated for allergies to stop the tail rubbing altogether.
Hair loss on the legs is often caused by mange. This is caused by an infestation of mites that cause intense itching, which causing scratching and rubbing, which then leads to hair loss. The condition is treated through oral ivermectin shots, topical insecticides, or moxidectin oral gel.
Lice infestation is known to lead to hair loss in horses. Lice infestations can be seen with the naked eye as the little insects will be crawling through the hair of the horse. Bathing the horse in medicated shampoos will help to treat the condition, although this bathing process will need to be repeated to kill the adults as well as the young. Ivermectin is often given along with permethrin products, applied two weeks apart to target all generations of the lice.
Horn Fly Dermatitis
Horn fly dermatitis is also a common cause of hair loss in horses. The horn flies bite the horses to feed and this causes intense itching. The horse will scratch incessantly which causes the hair loss. The hair loss is usually seen on the neck or underbelly of the horse. Treatment involves fly control and anti-inflammatory ointments to treat localised itching and hair loss.
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