Scratches or Mites? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Scratches or Mites?

So my beloved Belgian, Revel, has had terribly itchy legs for as long as I've known him (several years). Well now I own him and I want to fix this!
He scratches himself SO bad he bleeds, regularly, every morning there are new open cuts.
I've treated all his legs with Several different meds, Betadine scrub, M-T-G, desitin, Microtek, Banixx, everything else I could find too.

I called the vet, but can't really afford another farm call (he just recently gota very expensive abscess). She suggested it might actually be mites, not scratches, she suggested a skin scraping, but again, I can't afford to spend more money on false leads. Is there any way I can know what exactly is wrong with him? Is there any real treatment that actually works?!
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 11:04 AM
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I know baby oil works on the ears for mites...You might give that a try??? What can it hurt??

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post #3 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 11:49 AM
Green Broke
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A skinscraping would rule out mites. If it is mites you need to use a specific miticide. However, if you are worming with Ivermectin that MAY take care of mites. You need to have a conversation with your vet.

Here is the big issue. If it is mites, you need to treat the horse and the environment otherwise the horse will become re-infected. That cycle needs to be broken. Your other horse can become infested as well. You need to know the cause. Fungus or yeast can cause itching too.. but the treatment is different.

TALK to your vet and find out what the treatment is IF it is mites. Maybe they would let you try the treatment without the skin scraping. If the treatment does not work, then you know the problem is NOT mites. Talk to them about environmental treatment too and your other horse.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 11:51 AM
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You know I have come across a lot of fungus treatments in my day and I have never had any luck with any of them. I sometimes wonder if the water and washing with sponges, etc that is required for a lot of these treatments just results in lots of moisture (good for most fungus growth) and helps to spread it via the water carrying it places and also by contaminating your sponges, etc.

I have about come to the conclusion that the best thing to do with leg fungus is ignore it unless it gets really bad (which yours sounds like it is!) and then I'll just diligently pick the fungus off by hand---there are typically "clods" of it---you'll take hair with it and I just pick until everything feels smooth and do this for a few days in a row and see what happens. If I actually cause anything to bleed while picking, I will then clean the "wound" with hydrogen peroxide or betadine but skip any wound ointment or washing.

If that doesn't work, the 1 thing that I had luck with on rain rot was a mixture of listerine and baby oil---I am blanking on the ratio---I want to say maybe 1 part listerine to 3 parts oil. It is super messy but clears things up quickly. That said, I wouldn't put this on any open wounds as it would burn badly and I'd think just wouldn't be super sanitary for the wound.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all. I have talked to my vet about it. She said if it wasn't scratches it woupd be mites and I should go to the office and buy some of the mites spray on medicine for dogs to spray on his legs. I have concerns about that, not just the price, but its designed for dogs and he chews on his legs to scratch them. I wouldn't want him ingesting that. He's been wormed by his previous owners recently, don't know which wormer. But his most recent fecal came back negative so I havent wormed him for anything.
Which is why I was wondering if there was a way to tell it apart from fungus without the skin scraping or if there were bettter treatment options.
I think you're right about washing just spreading the fungus. I've tried picking it out, theyre like little slimy balls of gross. But I dont know if thats fungus or scraped skin chunks. Would it be beneficial to clip his feathers? I hate even suggesting that and I dont even have clippers but if it would make it go away I would. I keep his legs very dry I towel then blow dry them after washing them then apply the M-T-G or whatever new product I'm trying. But dont know what else to do.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 12:41 PM
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What is he eating?
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 12:45 PM
Green Broke
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Clipping the hair to expose the skin to keep the legs dry would help. That hair will grow back.

Ask your vet if the horse ingests the miticide if it will make him sick. It may not be toxic to horses (only to mites) and it may be innocuous.

Horses are not inexpensive things to own. You got this horse knowing he had a problem and vowing to treat it (as you should). Reckon its time to cut something else in life out.. and treat it... (so been there myself).

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Texas - he gets all the hay he could dream of and grass outside, two buckets of hay cubes with canola oil (to help him put the weight back on) and Nutrena Empower Boost, rice bran supplement. As well as Brewer's Yeast and MSM supplements for his joints.

Elana, I wish there were something more I could cut out. Every penny goes to my horses - if I knew this were the problem and this was the cure I'd do it in a heartbeat, no matter the cost. I've thrown all my money into fixing the issues I knew he came with, his itchy legs were truly the least of his problems, but my money's been drained, but now the only issue left is his legs. I'm just sick of throwing money at hundreds of different treatments with the thought "maybe this one will work". I'll ask the vet again about the mites treatment, I just would really hate for it to not make a difference.
I can either spend the money on the farm call and exam + the treatment, or just keep trying different treatments. Which is why I was hoping there'd be some magic way to tell the difference between fungus and mites without an expensive vet visit.

I also heard from someone else it could be photosensitivity? Some allergic reaction to light or vitamin D? I'm not really sure, but it happens often in horses with white legs, which he's got? Has anyone heard of that? Is there a way to tell or to fix it?
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 01:50 PM
Green Broke
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Here is your real dilemma.. you do not have a microscope so you cannot do the scraping and look yourself.

I have a microscope and do this (I am VERY fortunate.. a friend gave me a reconditioned one.. binocular.. that was cast off from a medical college!). So.. I can take a look see and then I know. It is an amazing tool.

If you have the tools (slides, cover slips and microscope) you can take a skin scraping. Then you have to know what you are looking for and how to prepare the slide.

I would trim the hair regardless. If your horse is getting something like Alsike clover you may have a photosensitivity issue. It often shows up on the face as dew poisoning but can show up on the legs too. Not common. Alsike can cause other issues in horses over time. It is toxic to them.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 02:02 PM
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St John's Wort, Buttercups, and a few others can cause the same thing, as well as ALL clover that has endophytes growing on or in it. Best thing is to get him competely off your pasture and see if it clears up with hay that is fescue/rye/clover free.

With spring time, it isn't uncommon for horses to become overloaded with potassium and decifient on sodium, calcium, and magnesium. You may want to offer him some supplemental sodium and magnesium.
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