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Discussion Starter #1
Alright horsey people, I have a Shire mare that I can't seem to keep her from getting scratches on her white legs. Her black, no problem. (feather fanatics, advert your eyes here) I have clipped the underneath side of her pasterns and have a great product to treat the scratches when it appears, but it keeps coming back, in different spots. She gets about 10-12 carrots a day, so I was thinking she was getting enough vitamin A. According to the internet each medium carrot has approx 10,000 ius. Nutrena's website states that a moderately active horse needs about 22,000 ius. Being as she is much bigger than an average horse, pretty active and she LOVES them, she got quite a few each day.

I don't bathe her legs all that often, but will hand towel dry if I do.

Any suggestions?

I don't have a fridge in my barn, nor do I have room in my fridge at the house for a 25 pound bag of carrots, so as we head into summer the carrots are going to be limited. Any suggestions on supplements?

Other than the scratches, her summer coat is coming in beautifully! Getting beautiful dapples on her bay coat.
 

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Hopefully Cherie will chime in, because I'm just trying to remember what she says... think it was 5ml per week (check that dosage, I'm not sure) of Vit A in the feed? She uses the injectable one that you can get at a stock feed place. But its given orally, not by injection. If you use the search function on the forum and look up rain rot threads it will be in there somewhere.
 

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Besides vitamin A, do you happen to use a stiff brush or curry on these areas when you clean/groom? Over the years, I've noticed that when horses with very sensitive skin are roughly brushed/curried (e.g. to get rid of dried mud), they are more susceptible to skin problems which I've come to assume is due to irritating the skin too much.
 

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Farnam's Mare Plus per directions. Loaded with vitamin A.

4oz of Desitin (40% zinc oxide), 2oz of Neosporin, and 2oz of cortizone cream. Generic of each will do fine. Mix them all together, and apply liberally a couple of times a day, while your waiting for the vitamins to kick in. I've also seen variations of that recipe using mastitis treatment in place of the Neosporin. I've used the first one on both of the drafts I had that had mild scratches when I got them. They were belgians so the feathering wasn't as heavy.

If it persists you may have to do the horrible and shave his feathers and treat but I'd sure try that first. Feathers are fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Paint. no rough brushing/currying. I am pretty gentle, especially with her feathers. I will see if our local feed store carries Vitamin A or the Mare plus.

Thanks for the input!
 

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If this is a chronic issue, you need to look at what is causing it because rather than being an actual "disease", scratches is a response to something. It can have many causes including mites (microscopic ones), bacterial or fungal infections, treated bedding or shavings that are irritating, grooming practices, environmental moisture, auto-immune disorders, etc.

Also, reconsider the carrots. They are actually quite high in sugar. If your horse is on pasture in the summer or is fed an appropriate concentrate feed or vitamin/mineral supplement, vitamin A deficiency is unlikely. How much benefit can carrots provide in the case of suspected equine vitamin A deficiency? - eXtension
 

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Shires and Clydes are notorious for having chronic mud fever.

Here's what I do - it does keep it at bay:

Clip the feathers off. And keep them short (less than 1/2" if at all possible).

My guy hates it when I pick the scabby parts so, I use a shedding block - it sands the scabs down so the ointment can get into the scab. And he doesn't fuss.

Apply Tinactin or Special Formula daily when it looks like you have a new issue arising. And I use Tinactin once a week to keep it from getting worse.

One of my friends is into breeding and showing Clydes and Shires at the national level (her one mare just won the Royal in Toronto and her Shire mare is one of the top horses in North America). I was super excited to ask her trainer how he combats mud fever.....hoping he would have a magical remedy.

He looked at me, shook his head and said "just keep on top of it - that's all you can do".
Dang!
 

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Unless the weather is really wet/muddy the horse probably has mites not scratches
They feed on the horse and burrow under the skin causing really bad irritation, sores and inflammation that bacteria can get into causing infections
I usually find that a spot of Frontline on each heel is enough to kill them but you need to re-apply monthly as new ones will hatch from any eggs until you get rid of them altogether
Benzyl Benzoate spray that you can buy for dogs is also really good at getting rid of mites but avoid using while the horse has any open sores
 

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Drafts are fairly prone to scratches. If you go over to rural heritage there is tons of info on including some from their resident vet, Beth Valentine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
JP, I wonder if they would work for mites. I strongly feel that this round has been caused by mites. Initially, I was thinking fungal or bacterial, but after I had yet another spot appear without any more rain, mites seems to fit the bill better. I have coated her feathers in a combination of mineral oil (essentially the same as pig oil) and permectrin. She stopped rubbing her legs that very day. Another hint that it is mites, I placed a tub of water out for my geldings that did not have goldfish in it, the next morning, the surface was covered. Gives me the hibeejibees! The raw places are healing and while her legs aren't white from the oil and dust, I am sure it will wash out well.
 

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'Pig Oil' and sulphur used together are old fashioned remedies for horses with feather and a mite problem - but Pig oil is just paraffin oil and so needs to be used with caution if its to get in constant close contact with the skin as it can cause severe irritation and a dermatitis condition that's as bad as the one you're trying to get rid of. It should only be used on the hair
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A quick update, no more itching at all and the spots are all beginning to regrow hair. I have used just 2 applications about a week apart. I figure I will do one more of the mixture with the permectrin, then I am planning on switching to an all natural, preventive type of program. Since its mites causing this, I am hoping that I will be able to use some essential oils to repel them instead of the harsher chemicals. I try to use healthier alternatives whenever possible.
 
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