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I recently purchased my first draft horse, a 7yo Shire mare. I have been working with Clydesdales for 7 years now, but have never been solely responsible for the care and maintenance before. So I'm wondering about the best way to maintain her feathering, as well as any other care pointers.

Her feather is not in great shape right now, as she has spent most of the past 3 months in a muddy field, but I gave them a thorough scrub with horse shampoo and a really good rinse on Sunday. She does not appear to have greased heel or any signs of mites, so for the most part, I'm just wanting pointers to keep them bug and infection free and get the best length and thickness she has to offer.

I've browsed around google for a few hours now, some say use pour-on Ivermectin (for cattle) others say don't use cattle products. I've heard mention of sulfer and MTG. And then oh so many say "great feather takes extra care to maintain," but neglect to mention HOW... I know washing them too often can cause over-drying, which would make them itchy, but never cleaning them gives way to fungus, mites, and other conditions. How often is best? What products do you rub in to the skin, and what ones do you want only on the hair, but not against the skin? Which do you rinse out and which to leave in? Any tips would be appreciated.
 

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I'm actually going to sub to this because my new baby boy has terrible feather issues.

He's a Belgian so not exceptionally thick. But he has, what I thought, was terrible scratches. I washed him with betadine and put on anti-itch baby powder. I've tried MTG and Desitin and SO many other things. My vet just mentioned it may be mites, so I'll be trying that - but I don't know what medicine to use she said 'just the same as dogs'.

My other draft has never had any feather issues but I take meticulous care. I don't wash her legs any more often than the rest of her (maybe twice a year). But I brush them regularly, if it's exceptionally wet or muddy out then when I bring her in I rub sawdust on her legs and brush it off a few minutes later to keep it dry. I've found moisture is worse than dry for feathered horses. I've also found heavier feathers more healthy than lighter feathers - the moisture only makes it half way to the skin, instead of all the way in and causing fungus. But when you wash your horse be sure to carefully dry, again I find sawdust to be the most effective way to dry them. I've also used a hair dryer on my new boy who's exceptionally tolerant. xD

So just keep them dry :) and brush them like the rest of their fur. But I'm very curious what others will say!
 

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I use spray on Ivermectin for dogs.
One bottle will do all four legs. I think it is around $25, comes in a 8 or 12 oz spray bottle. I wash the legs, towel dry then spray.
The wet hair will help wick the medicine up to the skin. My equine vet told me to do this, just so you know, it wasn't some article I read on the internet, but this advice came from a reputable source.
It helped with mites and itching.
 

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You can look through our information site link - link to website below.

You can also look here..

The Gypsy Horse Group :: Index

and do a search for 'feather'. Not as many great ideas as when I had the forum, but still some information. Gypsy owners have more trouble and information, regarding feather, than any other breeds. Lots of info available.

Best advice, is to keep it clean, check under feather and down to the skin, once a week. Treat as soon as anything appears. Treating for mites won't help unless bedding and surrounding areas are also treated. A horse stamping, biting at feet or rubbing against something, is a sure sign of a problem.

Lizzie
 

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I learnt something new again on this forum, I didn't know feathered feet were prone to mites.
 
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Ya know-its weird. My guy used to get scratches in Md/Va-but since he moved to NY about 7 yrs ago-none. No idea why, but knocking wood.......Is it the heat and humidity? If so, why does he not get any issues when it is summer in NY? Does the cold winter kill the germs? maybe, but the last 2 winters have been mild.....I have no idea.......but it is true!
 

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It's interesting. Years ago, many of us thought it was damp conditions which affected horses with feather. However, our vet and farrier in S. Cal., where it is almost always very dry, say that they've seen major problems on almost every Clyde they see. A member of my old forum, finally had to put her Clyde to sleep, after years of battling problems and eventually, full blown CPL.

Lizzie
 

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I use tea tree oil to treat anything wrong with the skin under the feather (or mane and tail) as well as other problems.
It knocks out the start of scratches in a couple of days.
For just treatment of the hair I just keep the dirt combed out on an as needed basis and while tea tree oil is also good for the hair I use coconut oil 3 or 4 times a year (it cost even less than the tea tree oil and does a lovely job with the hair, but won't help with skin issues)

We've never bought equine products to treat problems. Over priced and don't do any better job than the things we could pick up at the drug or grocery store. I can remember in my youth during warm/hot weather if an animal suffered an open wound injury my grandfather would clean it out, treat the severity of the injury and then coat it with burnt oil that had been drained out of a crank case. Kept the flies and bugs out of it and didn't need to badage it. It's amazing how people managed to keep healthy horses and mules that lived 30+ years without all the "equine" items that the market is flooded with today. :lol:

Off the topic.
One lady who knows me told me that for fun money when I retire I should package the vinegar solution I use to prevent thrush and sell it as a "Thrush Preventative" (it's nothing but 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water) and make a mixture with primarily tea tree oil and using different packaging so I can sell it for different things (thrush treatment, scratches treatment, etc....) I could even claim it may improve hair growth (it doesn't, but it will make combing easier so that fewer hairs are pulled out or broken and will treat most skin coditions that might be present). As she put it "just sell something as a 'horse treatment' product and people will buy it and pay more for it". :lol:
 

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If you shaved those feathers off, do those problems cease?
 

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If you shaved those feathers off, do those problems cease?
Any horse can have a mites or develope scratches. It's not something unique to feathering. I've seen non feathered horses with a major case of scratches.
With feathering all the extra hair can make it less noticable in the beginning which is why it's a good idea to check the legs when you clean their feet. Just takes a minute to run you fingers into the hair and check the skin. You'll notice the beginning of scratches or the effect of mites on the skin. It tends to be easier to spot on horses without feathering since the hair isn't long enough to covery up the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I use spray on Ivermectin for dogs.
One bottle will do all four legs. I think it is around $25, comes in a 8 or 12 oz spray bottle. I wash the legs, towel dry then spray.
The wet hair will help wick the medicine up to the skin. My equine vet told me to do this, just so you know, it wasn't some article I read on the internet, but this advice came from a reputable source.
It helped with mites and itching.
Taffy, do you do this as routine maintenance or only if you notice her starting to scratch or the skin looking problematic?
 

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It's interesting. Years ago, many of us thought it was damp conditions which affected horses with feather. However, our vet and farrier in S. Cal., where it is almost always very dry, say that they've seen major problems on almost every Clyde they see. A member of my old forum, finally had to put her Clyde to sleep, after years of battling problems and eventually, full blown CPL.

Lizzie
Makes you wonder if that is why U.C. Davis does so much CPL research.
 

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This was my protacol for Sam, He had the worst case of scratches ever.
About every 18 months he would have a full blown attack with temps around 105 +. Swollen legs and one miserable horse.

This was his med regimine to get him back under control, never cured it. He was a nightmare, I finally shaved his feathers after he retired, didn't really help, just made on easier in me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Evening Taffy,

The most recent blood work on your clyde shows a significant decrease in
the fibrinogen. As long as the leg has continued to go down, we should be
able to start the program as soon as you assemble all the materials if you
have done so yet.

Day 1
We start with Gentocin 40 ccs IV for three days in a row.
We give 30 ccs of dexamethasone IV on Day one as well
We give the legs a bath and after slight towel drying, soak the legs
with the fipronil, i.e frontline spray. One bottle will do one treatment
We also give 20 ccs of Ivermectin liquid orally.
We begin him on 2 grams of bute a day

Day 2
We give the second day's dose of Gentocin 40 ccs IV
We give 2 grams of bute orally

Day 3
We give the third days dose of Gentocin 40 ccs. IV
We give 2 grams of bute orally
We begin the prednisolone with 40 tablets in his feed before 8 am

Day 4 through day 10
He is switched to 20 sulfa/trimethoprim tablets twice a day
We give him 2 grams of bute orally
We continue prednisolone at 40 tablets a day

At the end of this first ten days we will begin to taper and withdraw some
meds depending on his progress. It is at the end of the ten days that I
need to hear from you on his progress and we will go from that point.


Note: The dexamethasone is reported to cause laminitis in horses. I
haven't had any problems with this in clydes but it is important to be aware
of this.

Note: When he is switched to sulfa drugs, it is important to watch his
stools very closely. Any change toward cowpie or diarrhea is important.
Let me know if you see any such changes.

Note: It would be a good idea to put him on fast track for the length this
treatment in an effort to keep his gut happy. Fast track is a probiotic
that you can add to the feed.

Remember the goal is to get the infection and the mites under control.
Our aim is to get this done and then find a regimen that will control the
problem and keep the daily care needed to a minimum. Eventually we will get
him to a week on pred and then a week off all meds and at this schedule the
legs are easy to care for.
If you have any questions don't hesitate to call and ask. If he is
resistant to our efforts, there are other meds that I add, but I only do so
when or if it is needed. This program works for 80% of these guys.


Dr. Ellis


------------------------------------------------------------

This was the vet for the Anheuser-Busch Clyde hitch and the breeding farm,
that gave me this remedy, He was on prednisolone for his entire life.
I am sure this contributed to his early demise.


.
 

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Makes you wonder if that is why U.C. Davis does so much CPL research.

Unfortunately BGH, UC Davis, stopped their research on CPL, a few years back. They say for lack of funding. It is incredibly sad that they chose to do this, because it affects ALL feathered breeds, across the world.

Anyone reading this, please be aware of the difference between common scratches and CPL. You MUST be knowledgeable about CPL, if you own any feathered breed or feathered crossbred. You can read about it on our website here.

Chronic Progressive Lymphedema

And please read through all the links.

Lizzie
 

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Taffy, do you do this as routine maintenance or only if you notice her starting to scratch or the skin looking problematic?
I use it when there is a flare up and as a preventative, if there hasn't been a flare up lately. He always had problems so every 5 months or so I would give him the spray treatment.
 

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Any horse can have a mites or develope scratches. It's not something unique to feathering. I've seen non feathered horses with a major case of scratches.
THIS. My clean-legged TB gets really bad mud fever on ONE foot (the one with the white sock). I am continually on his case about it, so I don't ever let it get beyond a cm or so of scabbiness at a time before I strip it. However with feathers.... I cringe to think about keeping that clear. I always heard it was horses with white socks/stockings that got mud fever more readily, due to the more sensitive pink skin, but only have anecdotal evidence for this.
 

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I,ve always used pig oil with sulphur in ,I notice now you can buy it on eBay.i think it's about £20 for five litres
 
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