Skin Condition- FROM DIRT?

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Skin Condition- FROM DIRT?

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  • 1 Post By Cherie

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    12-05-2011, 08:22 PM
Skin Condition- FROM DIRT?

I have a paint who just loves to roll in the mud. You can brush him until he's spotless and as soon as he gets back in the pasture he rolls. I have been noticing a lot of large lumps and scabs on him lately. I called the vet out and he says that these lumps are from my horse being dirty. I brush him multiple times a day, but the lumps aren't going away. Is this really from dirt? Has anyone ever had this happen to them? Please write me a comment.
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    12-05-2011, 08:28 PM
Bumps or scabs? Maybe some rain rot starting? Mud seems to be laced with lots of nasty stuff this fall. Lots of skin conditions popping up. Just keep him as clean as you can. Not much more you can do other than put a sheet on him to keep the larger parts of him clean.
    12-05-2011, 08:32 PM
They are bumps with scabs in the middle. I called his previous owner and she said that he has had them before. I don't think it's truly from the mud... do you know of anything else it could be? ( I'm positive it isn't rain rot).
    12-05-2011, 08:42 PM
Topical allergy? I have no clue.
    12-05-2011, 09:09 PM
Super Moderator
It is simply a 'normal', 'natural, non-pathogenic fungus and or bacteria that takes hold on a horse's skin when Vitamin A is lacking in their diet. A horse with a good immune system and Adequate Intake or stored Vitamin A will not get it. You can brush him all day every day and he will still get it -- and then, miraculously, next spring when the good green grass comes up it will all disappear until next fall or winter.

Horses do not get rain rot, scaly skin, goopy eyes, or skin lice if they are not deficient in Vitamin A.

Here is a copy of an article I wrote about the relationship between Vitamin A and skin problems.

Rain Rot or Rain Scald and lice are almost always nutrition related. Feeding adequate levels of Vitamin A will prevent almost all cases of rain rot and lice as well as many other conditions that occur mostly in horses with no access to green grass or in the winter and early spring when Vitamin A stores are depleted or intake is inadequate when horses are stabled. Other conditions related to a Vitamin A deficiency are:

1) Rough hair coat. Predisposition for getting skin conditions like rain rot and lice. These horses can look wormy even when they are not.

2) Goopy, runny, crusty eyes.

3) Mares failing to ovulate or conceive.

4) Mares failing to drop their afterbirth within 30 minutes of foaling.

I have recommended that several people initiate a program of supplementing vitamin A, especially during the late fall, winter and early spring months and all have reported having rain rot and lice disappear without any further medicating or treating.

There are several ways to supplement Vitamin A. If a horse is seriously deficient, I recommend using the injectable form of Vitamin A only just give it orally and not in shot form. Start with about 5 cc and then follow it up with 2 cc a week. You can get it at any feed or farm store that caters to stockmen. It is a non-prescription item.

This should be followed up with a good supplement that has high levels of Vitamin A. Farnam has a product called "Mare Plus". It will prevent rain rot and other conditions related to Vitamin A.

Vitamin A deficiency often is accompanied by a mineral deficiency -- mainly a Calcium deficiency. I feed a loose mineral supplement that contains high levels of Vitamin A plus Calcium, Magnesium and zinc. Since feeding it, I have not had ONE SINGLE CASE of Rain Rot or of lice. All but 4 or 5 of our 60 horses run out with no shelters other than trees, etc on large pastures. Most are not fed grain but only get free-choice winter pasture and free-choice round bales of mature grass hay. They get very little Beta Carotene (the precursor of Vitamin A) or Vitamin A from their diet. They live out in the rain, mud and slop in the winter and still no rain rot or lice.

When I get in a new horse with rain rot, I do not do anything other than put it on good feed and supplement Vitamin A. I will use oral Vitamin A for 3 or 4 weeks until just keeping out our mineral can take over.
    12-06-2011, 08:35 PM
Cherie, what is your source for this vitamin A information? I only ask because I have asked two vets about this theory where it pertains to rain rot, and both say there is no correlation whatsoever. Not trying to start an argument, just want know where this info comes from.
    12-06-2011, 10:11 PM
Super Moderator
Try it and prove them wrong is all I can say. It does not surprise me because most Vets are totally clueless when it comes to nutrition and how it applies to horses IRL.

I have been doing it for about 40 years now. Both it and the Calcium Deficiency problems were called to my attention by an old Nutritionist I ran into about 40 years ago. I contacted him about a set of calves I had in late winter, that lice were just eating up. I had contacted the local Vet Clinic and been there 3 or 4 times and bought everything they had. They were on feed, but at that time you got mixed, ground grains or rolled grains with molasses in them and not much else was available. They had quit growing and gaining weight and I had used Malathion and Seven Dust on them and still could not get rid of the bad hair and lice. Then, my horses started rubbing their manes and I found lice on them, too. I was beside myself. If that was not bad enough, the one living outside had fungus scabs all over them, too.

The local Vet had me dusting and doctoring them about once a week, which for the calves had me putting them through a chute and really stressing them. I was afraid they would end up with pneumonia. Even though these old Vets were clueless, they did tell me that the calves would get better on their as soon as the grass greened up. [Gee -- that was when they would get Vitamin A from the grass. What a thought.]

At that time, I was giving lessons to three children whose family had a big dairy about 20 miles away. I was visiting them and getting set up for lessons as soon as the spring thaw was over. I was complaining about my calves and horses with lice and fungus. Bob, the dairy owner said why didn't I just 'fix' their nutrition problems? He said that was all it was. That he used to fight lice every winter until he found the Moorman's salesman and the Moorman nutritionist straightened them out. So, I got the name and phone number of his nutritionist. He was on staff at the Moorman Feed and Mineral Company.

At that time (about 1970) Moorman had nutritionists and Vets on staff that worked with feedlots, dairy farms, hog and poultry operations, etc and they tackled all of their health problems through nutrition. They were decades ahead of their time. Actually, Moorman was the first company to add Vitamins and minerals to livestock diets to correct problems. Mr. Moorman started the Company in about 1880 and started bagging minerals in 1926. ADM bought them out in about 1980 or sometime around then. Here is a link that tells some of the inovations they worked out in animal nutrition.
Anyway, this Nutritionist (I can't remember his name for the life of me) came out and looked at my horses, looked at what I was feeding them and told me that all of my problems were nutritional. [They were also eating trees and chewing wood -- sound familiar?] He told me that they were mostly deficient in Vitamin A and Calcium. Explained that they needed that and Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamins D and E because of the symbiotic relationship of them. If any one was missing, none of the others was available. He also said that the Vitamin A problem was responsible for the goopy and runny or crusty eyes, bad feet, scruffy skin and a lot more. He said I would never have to 'clean' another mare if I started supplementing Vitamin A (and I have not had one retained placenta in the last 40 years except in horses that had just arrived to foal out.) He said they would breed back better (and they did) and he said that supplementing Calcium and the other minerals would prevent almost all calves or foals being born with weak or crooked legs (and it did). That old man had forgotten more than any Vet I have ever run into when it came to nutrition. He is also the one that told me to use the injectable A. He said to inject it and it I had any big swellings, I could always use it orally. I gave probably 30 or 40 shots of it before I got a HUGE swelling and a horse that had such a sore neck he could not reach the ground with his mouth. So, after that, I have just used it orally.

At that time, Moorman did not have feeds and minerals made specifically for horses. He said that horses were not a big enough market for them but that everything the applied to the feedlots, breeding cattle and dairy cattle would apply to horses. He named off several big horse operations that used Moorman minerals with added Vitamins.

The minerals I feed today are just copies of the old Moorman minerals. All the other mineral Companies like Stockade and Ragland just copied Moorman's formulas. He told me what mineral mix I needed and I just picked it up at the dairy in 50# bags until I moved to Oklahoma in December, 1979.

That mineral had 250,000 units of Vitamin A per pound of mineral mix. It had a Ca:P ratio of 4:1. It had 2% Magnesium and had Zinc in it. The mineral I have now, has only 150,000 units of A so I still give oral liquid A in the winter to some of my horses.

So there, If you suffered through all of this, you have the whole life history of Moorman minerals and how I got to using them.
    12-06-2011, 10:18 PM
Luckily I am bored at work, so yes, I read the whole thing! Question. Vitamin A being a fat soluble vitamin, any danger with toxicity with high dosages?

My horse does get frequent eye boogers and rain rot, so I sort of buy into the theory. On the flip side, he's got one of the most shiny coats at our barn, so I definitely can't say he looks scruffy. I do wonder if there's something he's missing in his diet.
    12-06-2011, 10:59 PM
Super Moderator
Vitamin A is stored in the liver. They can store vast amount of it and release it over a period of months -- up to 6 months -- but obviously not all horses store it that well or they would not run out in the fall and winter. I am convinced that mature horses need to be supplemented with up to 100,000 of A per day when there is not any green grass. They do not need to show all of the things that Vitamin A deficiency can cause. Some just get the goopy eyes. I have seen many mares that had no skin or eye problems but they retained their placenta every year until someone started supplementing them with Vitamin A. Some are very needy. They get problems every winter and show horrible symptoms by late spring.

The Horse, the on line magazine, had an article a couple of years ago that actually said that recent research had shown that 100,000 Units of A a day was appropriate for horses. I was shocked. That was the first time that anyone (other than the original Nutritionist I worked with) acknowledged that a horse needed that much.

I have just not ever seen anything other than a positive response.

If you are worried about it, give your horse one oral dose of 5cc of A and then start him on Mare Plus. It is the only Vitamin A supplement that does not add all of the Iron and B Vitamins that make a horse high and silly.

I just have not had a single horse with rain rot in all of these years and new ones coming in clear up right away without every putting a single topical on them. -- only giving them A and getting them on a good feed and good mineral that both supplement A.

lumps, rolling in the dirt, scabs, skin

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