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post #1 of 25 Old 11-25-2012, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Skin Issue

Hi Everyone! I had my horse Rusty since he was 8 months old and he is going on 8 years in the spring. My issue is this:

Even when he was a baby I noticed he always looked "dusty" and when brushed he lost alot of hair. Now I never paid much attention to it, since he was my first horse and I my only prior experience was with my Uncle's horses. As I had him longer and got more and more experienced with other horses I began to realize that his "condition" was not normal. I began to experiment with different hays, grains, oils, and supplements but to no avail. He always had a bright, shiny coat but he always shed alot of hair when brushed and his skin was "dusty". It's very hard to decribe. When I get this "dandruff" on my fingers while brushing him its almost "greasy" and does not come off easily.

In the winter he gets these "clumps" of skin cells caught in his very fuzzy coat and sometimes they can be quite large, like the size from a dime to a quarter or smaller. He seems to get them because the skin cells don't come out of the longer coat as easily so the clump together. When pressed they are painful and he flinches but once removed there is no more pain. If you pull them off or they come off on their own they often take most of the hair with them. When I take his blanket off he has a "blanket" of this dust underneath.

I would like to try a medicated shampoo or something similar (in the spring of course) but I don't want to be smothering him in chemicals that will have no effect :/ I've looked and looked online for a diagnosis but haven't found anything that fits. The vets I have called say to put him on a skin supplement but honestly, I've probably tried them all.

Is this just some genetic condition my boy has? His mom doesn't have it and neither does his dad or his paternal grandmother. He is 1/4 POA and 3/4 Quarter Horse. He's on a regular deworming program, gets alfalfa/grass hay, regular exercise, and an oat/pellet mix for grain. Since he is otherwise a very healthy boy I'm pretty stumped.

Does anyone have an idea?
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-25-2012, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Nobody here has a clue either, eh? Darn.. :/
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-25-2012, 11:42 PM
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Im curious cause this sounds just like my mare's hind legs... she only has it in a small strip down the back of her 2 hind legs though... hopefully someone will have an answer soon...
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post #4 of 25 Old 11-26-2012, 11:19 AM
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I'm leaning toward allergies and like people that could be anything from environmental to what he eats

What he eats could include something in the pasture, that doesn't affect the other horses, to whatever goes into his feed pan.

Allergies can, indeed, be a genetic predisposition but it can skip generations.

You sound to have quite a bit of horse experience so, if you're thinking what you're seeing is not normal then it probably isn't.


How's your vet in dealing with off-the-wall stuff like this? Some vets are great about it, others scoff at the notion.

It might be worth the time to have the Little Guy allergy tested for food and environmental. It isn't "Just Who He Is" and he'll probably grow out of it.

Also, where do you live, as that may play a part in environmental allergies. I have a horse that never had environmental allergies until we moved to the Tennessee Valley, where stale air hangs until a tornado-sized wind comes along and blows everything up and over the Cumberland Plateau - no kidding

This same horse also has oat/corn/soy intolerance. Your Young One could be dealing with that as well. It's easy for you to eliminate food possibilities but he'd need tested for the environmental.
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post #5 of 25 Old 11-26-2012, 11:42 AM
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My Percheron has this exact same thing, but only in the fall and winter when his coat gets heavy. I have tried everything from supplements to oil also, to no avail.

I can't wash him until spring, and even then, I wash him very infrequently. I do brush him everyday. Even after a real good grooming he is still covered in white dust. When I take my saddle off, gross, even my reins are white from where they rub him.

His coat is so shiny and he looks great, from afar. Sorry, that this post isn't much help, but it's nice to know that we aren't the only ones fighting this!
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-26-2012, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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countrylove: I would be interested to see if your mare has the same thing. My horse has it all over his body.

walkinthe walk: He has been moved from several properties over the years with no change so I can't see it being something in his pasture. I've also changed his feed several times hoping to see a difference (and because of his sensitive tummy) but alas there was none :-/

As far as my vet, she is quite old (Sorry Doc Burch lol) and has an old way of thinking. She seems to think that he just needs a good supplement (but oh have I tried them!) and to not use soap when I bathe him (rarely ever have, just a good rinse with water is his usual "bath"). In her defense, she does only see him for routine vaccinations. Since I don't really see this issue as life threatening I've never had another vet out for it. I did call one vet and he said use a skin supplement (ugh) and maybe try a medicated shampoo.

I currently live in central Wisconsin if that helps. My specific area has very sandy soil but a property he lived at a little farther south had very clay-y (lol) soil and I didn't see any change. The summers here are hot and humid, it can reach over 100 degrees on the worst days in summer and in winter -10 to -15 aren't unheard of though the winters have been milder in recent years.

His is very sensitive to corn (a cup full will make him colicy) so he gets a legume based pellet and oats. Most of the year he gets no grain unless he's in hard work (very rarely lol), it's bitterly cold out, or if he's dropping weight (darn flies :-/ ).

He does seem to be quite sensitive to fly bites. They have been very bad the last couple of years and even the most expensive fly spray or the simplest homemade spray doesn't seem to faze them for long or if at all. One year he lost most of the hair below the knee on all his legs and had hair loss and oozing serum on his belly and in his ears from them. I would like to try the Fly Predators in the spring.

Thank you very much for the suggestion to get him allergy tested. It seems like a fine place to start

PercheronMom: It is indeed nice to know that I'm not alone! I have debated on whether or not I should just vacuum him...lol It may be more effective. I try not to curry, it just makes everything worse..lol. A good stiff brush and a softer brush are my best friends for grooming him, but boy is it exhausting!
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-26-2012, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyBucket View Post

I currently live in central Wisconsin if that helps. My specific area has very sandy soil but a property he lived at a little farther south had very clay-y (lol) soil and I didn't see any change. How far is "a little further"?

The summers here are hot and humid, it can reach over 100 degreesAre you sure you aren't transported to Middle Tennessee in the summer That kind of heat/humidity is very conducive to bringing out the worst in skin allergies. My horses mostly deal with scratches after a rain during the hot summer months.
on the worst days in summer and in winter -10 to -15 aren't unheard of though the winters have been milder in recent years.

His is very sensitive to corn (a cup full will make him colicy) so he gets a legume based pellet and oats. Most of the year he gets no grain unless he's in hard work (very rarely lol), it's bitterly cold out, or if he's dropping weight (darn flies :-/ ).

He does seem to be quite sensitive to fly bites. They have been very bad the last couple of years and even the most expensive fly spray or the simplest homemade spray doesn't seem to faze them for long or if at all. One year he lost most of the hair below the knee on all his legs and had hair loss and oozing serum on his belly and in his ears from them. I would like to try the Fly Predators in the spring.

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Those are allergies that are immune-system related.

The reason I am curious about the distance between where he has lived and now lives is soil content. Soil content affects hay and pasture grass. For example, my current pastures are high in iron therefore deficient in copper and zinc.

Copper and zinc are not only important in metabolic horses to stabilize insulin, they are important minerals to the immune system.

It could be that he may need more copper and zinc because his system is deficient. Human siblings are often born with such big differences in immune systems that one has to take allergey meds while the other one can tolerate the environment without them.

Keep talking, there's a pattern forming that oftentimes isn't seen by the owner until everything is put in writing and examined 50 different ways by 40 different people
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-26-2012, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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I had a feeling it was immune related... :-/ All these years perhaps I should have followed my gut lol. Is there something I can give him for it?

"A little further" south is about an hour. Which is where he was born and resided until he was a year old, and returned to for a short time when he was 3. Up here we have sandy soil as this area used to be the bottom of a lake way back when.

For the last year or so he was kept on a dry lot and fed only hay and occasionally some grain. Sometimes mostly grass hay and sometimes mostly alfalfa depending on where I could find it and what people had to sell. Currently I drive an hour south to get hay, close to where he used to live, as there is a shortage up by me due to the drought. He was just moved again to my new property, but it is a small lot and the grass that was in his paddock is now mostly gone.

It never seemed to make a difference where he was pastured his symptoms have remained consitant.

He does get a free choice salt/mineral block.

Thanks so much for your help! I hope we can get this figured out for my boy
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-26-2012, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-26-2012, 11:03 PM
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I'd suggest getting a complete blood panel done, to see if he is lacking in anything.
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