How to treat a horse with dry skin

Updated November 21, 2016

A horse's coat can start having a dry, flaky skin appearance. Loss of hair can occur from the animal over-scratching or rubbing. There are many reasons why your horse has dry skin, and it is best to contact your vet to will take samples of skin and study them. Several skin disorders can be to blame, and all can be treated in their own way. Ensuring your horse has a good diet and lives in clean surroundings is equally important to treating dry skin.

Buy an insect repellent from a supplier of horse products or your vet. Biting gnats and horn fly bites can cause your horse to rub the skin leading to hair loss. Use a fly repellent if necessary.

Look at your horse's coat through a magnifying glass. If you see lice, apply a powder from your vet to treat your horse.

Apply Ivermectin to get rid of the onchocerca infestation in horses, caused by a hairlike worm.

Use topical chemicals from your vet to treat mange.

Bathe your horse daily in cases of ringworm for the first week, then twice a week after that with an anti-fungal shampoo. Massage the shampoo into the skin and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing.

Keep up hygiene levels in the place where your horse is kept. Keep bedding clean and dry. If the horse's coat is sun bleached, keep your horse in its stall for longer and use a turnout sheet on the coat for protection.

Contact your vet in the case of sarcoids or horse skin cancer which can be catching from horse to horse.

Supplement your horse's diet with flax to maintain a healthy coat. You can also use natural homeopathic remedies with ingredients such as borage oil, horsetail, kelp, dandelion and rosemary.

Determine if a food allergy is to blame by limiting certain types of food in the horse's diet to see if that makes a difference.

Apply ice packs or hose your horse with cold water to give temporary relief to the horse from itchy skin. A course of steroids can also alleviate itchy skin.


Do not bathe your horse too much, as this will strip the coat of healthy oils leading to severe itching and dull coats. Brush the coat more often instead.

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