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kcscott85 08-11-2010 06:27 PM

What ARE these?
These are on Jester's back hind legs. They look like strange scabs or black moles or something...

walkinthewalk 08-11-2010 09:45 PM

That is a lovely case of Scratches, a/k/a Mud Fever:-(

I see you're in NC and I'll bet you have about the same ugly heat/humidity we have in Middle Tennessee and that promotes this kind of stuff.

And it will spread if left unattended. Also comes as no surprise it's on the white leg as the pink skin seems more prone to it than the darker skin pigment under darker hair.

Sooooo, get to cleaning, I'm afraid to say, because it does spread quickly and can end up going clear up the horse's leg.

You've already got the hair clipped back so that's a huge plus as this garbage needs air to dry out.

If you don't have any medicated shampoo, get some betadyne, povidine (any kind of "dyne") and gently wash any fetlock/leg area that you see that stuff. If you see her hair "tufted" anywhere on her legs? That is scratches waiting to get started doing its ugly thing:-(

After washing, pat dry with a paper towel so you can throw it away.

If the scabs soften enough to act like they want to come off by all means take them off. However, if it's an effort to get them off, leave them go a few days because if you force them off the open sore will most likely bleed. That won't hurt the horse except for the flies and bugs the blood will attract.

There are many great potions that many people use to get rid of this stuff. I think much of the success of each depends on each horse.

Don't use MTG. This stuff is not anywhere near healed enough to tolerate MTG.

In this instance, I would use a mix (I should say I AM using) of:

1. Desitin (because it stays on really well and repels water pretty good).
2. Fur-All to fight infection (Corona cream or other antibiotic cream).
3. Equate's brand hemerhoid ointment to take the itch/pain/swelling out.

Others may come in with potions that work for them and it will be something you might have to experiment with.

Those scratches sores will probably take close to ten days to heal if you keep after them once daily. If you can, clean them twice daily until the scabs come off and you start to see pink healing skin. If that's not possible try for once a day (I don't know if you board or your horse is at home:-)

If your horse comes into a stall and happens to stand in his pee spot, I hate saying this, but that pee spot will have to be cleaned daily at least until this heat/humidity subsides.

Naturally my one horse that is really prone to scratches is the one that stands in his pee spot--he is costing a lot of extra shavings and lime lately. I lime the pee spot after cleaning to kill the bacteria. I use dolemite, a/k/a garden lime. Don't buy field lime, it's different.

There are a lot of stall dries on the market, but if they don't say they kill bacteria don't waste your money. A bag of lime is cheap cheap cheap and lasts a long time.

Oh, do not share this horse's grooming equipment with any other horse and be sure to clean all your grooming equipment after each use. If you have Novalsan that is great. I use hot water and Dawn dish soap and that also works well.

Sorry this is so long but I hope it helps, and don't delay the cleaning process as Scratches spreads really fast:-)

waterbuggies 08-11-2010 10:21 PM

Do scratches keep coming back as soon as you let up on the cleaning and doctoring, or is it something that once cured that it goes away until conditions are perfect for it?

walkinthewalk 08-12-2010 07:42 AM


Originally Posted by waterbuggies (Post 716460)
Do scratches keep coming back as soon as you let up on the cleaning and doctoring, or is it something that once cured that it goes away until conditions are perfect for it?

It depends on the horse. My horse that deals with skin allergies can develop Scratches at the mere mention of the word:-(

They should go away and stay gone unless, as you asked, the conditions are perfect for it.

The weather we are all having makes the conditions more perfect than usual (The Perfect Scratches Storm:shock: It seems many of us are locked into a lot more heat/humidity than we are used to.

Temps/heat index in my area are AGAIN expected to hit 99 or 100 with heat index around 105 or higher. We have been consistently running ten degrees above normal since mid-May.

Two of my horses started shedding in mid-July so I can't wait to see what winter's going to be like:-( At least I won't have to deal with skin allergies and scratches to the degree I am, every time I blink:D

MissPhoebe 08-12-2010 08:00 AM

My rescue mare has spots like this all around the bottom of her back legs and she has one particular spot that is over an inch in diameter. I treat it every day (betadine scrubs, desitin/furazone mix, and even a really expensive bottle of spray in case it was MRSA). If I keep after them the part that sticks out will slough away but they never actually go away. The really big one never changes at all. I have had numerous farriers and vets and other horse owners look at it but no one knows what to do. The only recommendation was to give her a course of fungicide from the inside but it can cause severe anorexia and she already struggles with her weight. The other horse that was rescued from the same property has the same problem too; we are starting to think it was let run rampant so long it has rooted itself there. So for now I just scrub and dress daily and it keeps it at least at bay enough that it doesn't advance, but if I go away on vacation or something it's a big mess when I return. Your photo looks more like what I deal with on my horse than the rainrot that I have seen. Usually rainrot looks like scales beginning to form under the fur and gives a bumpy appearance and then the hair begins to fall of in clumps. Regardless, the treatment is the same and don't waste your money on the expensive potions because the betadine scrub followed with a dressing of desitin/furazone works just as well. Best of luck!

walkinthewalk 08-12-2010 12:07 PM

MissPhoebe, two other things have helped my horse that has skin allergies and chronic scratches this time of year:

1. Diet -- His sweet self is also allergic to oats, corn, and soy:shock:

Neither he nor any of my other horses have had grain or grain products in 3+ years. I also took everyone off the vit/min supplement that uses soy as a protein source (most do) this spring.

I put them all on EquiPride, a vit/min supplement that is completely soy free. Lin Pro is also soy free and I think there might be one or two others out there as well.

The EquiPride has been of immense help in reducing the skin issues, but living in the Tennessee Valley where allergies prevail, it's still not 100%

2. Vitamin E. My horses are on large doses of Vitamin E this time of year. This particular horse gets 4,000 IU of people Vit E gel caps daily.

My senior insulin resistant horse gets 12,000 IU daily - point being they can have a lot, but I cut everyone back once the coolness of Fall gets here.

They also get a tablespoon of processed garlic daily from mid-March thru late Oct/early Nov. I would NOT recommend that if your horse has ulcer, colic issues, or a generally finicky tummy.

I also know a lady in AZ whose Molly Mule is not only insulin resistant but has the most horrible skin allergies you can imagine. She has foundered and has ringbone along with all that.

The vet made up a special serum for everything she is allergic to and that helps the allergies but sets off the founder.

The Molly's owner is an RN and read something about Vitamin D helping people with allergies so she asked her vet if they could experiment with her mule; by this time the mule was so bad, the lady was contemplating putting her down.

The vet and the owner figured out how much Vitamin D to give the Molly (in conjunction with the allergy serum) and within one week she had made so much improvement that all thoughts of euthanasia went out the window.

I said all that to say the Vitiman D might be an option but consult with your vet because it can have toxic build up in the liver.

Nothing is going to 100% for a horse with chronic scratches issues, but anything helps within reason that isn't drugs, unless the horse is like the Molly I mentioned that has little hope without them.

MissPhoebe 08-12-2010 12:20 PM

^thanks for the info^:D

I have been playing around with her food a little bit but that has been mainly to get her to gain weight. But, perhaps I need to consider her sensitive skin in that mix as well!

On a side note, I recommended using a furazone/desitin mix and then went to my local tack shop this morning to buy a new jar and she told me they stopped making it!!! I had to do everything in my power to not stomp and cry. What am I going to use now?!?! Is there something similar to furazone or should I contact all my horsey friends immediately and buy up every last jar and half jar in my county? After being gone last week I came hoe to a mess on her legs, but after working all week the scabs finally all sloughed off this morning and there was fresh, pink skin underneath :shock: Now I just need to maintain.

walkinthewalk 08-12-2010 04:43 PM

Corona cream should work as well, but I think we can still get Furall in the cream form if I am reading this web site correctly.

Coolhorse: Furall - currently unavailable

Where it says in part:


If you can use a cream instead of an aerosol, the Nitrofurazone ointment has the same active ingredient as Furall.

If you cursor down you can see their products. I have been using the blue jar with the yellow lid on the left. I've had it for a very long time but I would hope it can still be bought as they say in the link.

The Tri-Care 3-way wound treatment on the right might work too, but there's not as much in the tube as there is in the blue jar - lol

Interesting the plant burned down! I had heard they'd quit producing the aerosol but no one had ever said why:shock:

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