What to Do for a Horse with Itchy Skin

Written by carolyn kaberline
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What to Do for a Horse with Itchy Skin
A horse that does a lot of rubbing---sometimes on other horses---may need to be treated for itchy skin. (horse image by tamon from Fotolia.com)

You've seen your horse rubbing his tail on his stall and some trees, and you've found horsehair stuck on the fence. Your horse obviously has itchy skin, and it's up to you to find a remedy for it.

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Diagnosis

In order to treat your horse's itchy skin, the first thing is to determine the cause. In general it will be one of four things: flies, parasites, skin conditions and a diet lacking in essential proteins and vitamins. Your vet may want to take skin scrapings for laboratory analysis.

Flies and Parasites

Many equine skin problems are caused by flies and parasites. Often, worming your horse and changing fly sprays or applying them more often will help alleviate much of the itching during the summer months. For horses that are extremely sensitive to fly bites, fly sheets may help. Turning horses out during nighttime hours only may also provide relief.

Other Causes

Horses with a lot of white hair that exhibit excessive itching during summer months may be extra sensitive to the sun. These horses will also benefit from nighttime turn out. Like people, some horses exhibit allergies to food or materials they come in contact with. These allergies are often indicated by hivelike bumps. Once the cause of the allergy is found and removed, the itching will stop. Medicated creams and steroids will also often help. A horse with excessively dry, flaking skin may benefit from a change in feed or the addition of supplements.

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