My horse is rubbing her fur off!
I have a 6 year old appendix mare and for a few weeks now she has been very itchy. I have treated her for lice 3 times, she's up to date on worming and I can't figure out what's wrong with her. I've read some posts about similar issues and it said she might be lacking vitamin a so I am trying to find something that will take care of that. She does have dry skin all over her body, I have bathed her with mane and tail but I don't know if that'll help with the dry skin. She is only itching her neck, mane, top and bottom of her face, and forelock. Please help me. She's getting worse everyday. :-(
Sounds like allergies. Mild cases can get some relief from ground flaxseed. Try a catfood can size for flax feed twice a day. You can also give her OTC Benadryl and see if you can control it. It could also be something in her diet. Has anything changed lately?
Is she just rubbing in one particular spot or all over?
I know you say that you have treated for lice, but have you looked for them? They are easy peasy to spot if you know what you are looking at.
Apart from that, can you give us any more information about the state of her skin? Lumpy! Scaly? Scurfy? Scabs? Hair loss?
Have you changed her diet or bedding or grazing?
Is she used to being bathed in mane and tail?
So many questions! The more you tell us, the more solutions we may have for you.
It is just the time of year that they run out of Vitamin A. Their immune system and their skin and eyes (they frequently get runny and goopy this time of year, too) just run out of stored Vitamin A at the same time hay loses the last of its stored Vitamin A. It is 'fixed' by green grass and new hay --- or you can supplement it. If you supplement it through the winter, you will NEVER see rain rot, lice (probably why this horse is itching and loosing hair (not fur) and will see healthier hair coats and skin.
You can supplement Vitamin A with a supplement like Farnam's 'Mare Plus' or you can periodically give them an oral dose of an injectable vitamin A labeled for cattle. Just squirt 5 cc into the horse's mouth like you would do with a dewormer. Repeat every week for 3 or 4 doses and then just do it every 3 or 4 weeks. It is a lot cheaper than the supplements, but they also have other vitamins and fat in them that give you a really nice hair coat.
If it's warm enough maybe it's time for a good antibacterial bath. I'll be giving ours those here soon.
Is she shedding. Because of a long winter with low daylight hours mine are now in a major shed and are itchy and rubbing.
Anti-bacterial and other harsh soaps are about the worst thing you can put on a horse's skin and hair. A good healthy hair coat and healthy skin comes from the inside out -- from good nutrition.
Actually, in their natural state, running out of Vitamin A in the winter and early spring is a good and very natural thing. It keeps mares from coming in season too early and having foals that will be born in the cold weather when there is no green grass and harsh temperatures. In nature, the 'flush' that horses get when the grass becomes lush is what rids them of most internal and external parasites, puts a lot of weight on them and makes them have fertile heat cycles. A herd of feral horses will winter tough, the weak and crippled ones will die and feed the scavengers, the survivors will put on 4 or 5 pounds a day when the grass greens up and in 30 days they are having foals and breeding back. Every herd of feral horses I have seen will be covered with scabs and lice in the early spring and by late spring they are slick, fat and shiny. No one ever gave them a bath or put junk on them to 'kill' anything. The green grass with very high levels of Vitamin A does it all. Just add the Vitamin A with good nutrition and you prevent all of the things that make them look bad in the winter and spring.
Sorry for not responding. I've been busy. Nothing has changed in her diet and I just ordered something for vitamin A a couple of days ago. She's only running on her face and top of her neck (close to her face). I have checked for lice and I haven't seen anything. She just finished shedding out her winter coat. She does have dry, flakey skin but it only bothers her where she's rubbing. The only scabs she has is from her saddle pad and I ordered a new one. I heard that bacon grease helps and I've been putting it on her and the missing hair is coming back and the skin is moisturized. But now from the saddle pad she has a bald spot on her back and it hurts her. I have a show this weekend and I don't wanna miss it again.
Secondly - bacon grease?? As in extremely salty fat? If she's being rubbed under the saddle that bad then the saddle really isn't fitting. If it's rubbed sore then salty bacon fat is going to sting! Ouch. She shouldn't be wearing any saddle at all until the sore spot is completely healed. Treat the rubbed area with something designed for skin like diaper cream and keep the saddle and the pad off until it's healed. Then I think you need to have a look at the saddle fit.
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