Skin Problems Articles

• Help With Skin Problems
• Cancer: What You Can Do, What Your Veterinarian Can Do
• Proud Flesh
• Hair Loss
• Takin the Frustration !ut o" Summer Skin Problems
• Skin Problems

Help With Skin Problems
by Written by: Marianne Sloet, DVM, Ph.D.
#an$ e%uine skin problems ha&e not been "ull$ elucidated 'anal$(ed and e)plained* $et,
but e)perienced &eterinarians o"ten +ill reconi(e a problem and con"irm a tentati&e dianosis, i"
possible, +ith an appropriate test, !+ners need to reali(e that man$ disorders o" the e%uine skin
ha&e not been sub-ected to close clinical or scienti"ic scrutin$, and althouh the clinical "eatures
are kno+n and thus o"ten reconi(able, little is cateoricall$ established about the pathoenesis
and therap$,
#ost e%uine skin cases are treated "irst b$ o+ners or others and onl$ a"ter this .treatment/ has
been unsuccess"ul is a &eterinarian consulted, So &eterinarians rarel$ see a .primar$ case,/ For
that reason, a ood and thorouh histor$ is not al+a$s eas$ as the o+ner o" the horse or the
o+ner o" the "arm miht not be the person +ho kno+s about the patient, 0 "urther complication is
that sometimes1misleadin statements are i&en, For e)ample, the o+ner miht report that the
problem is acute +hen in realit$ the acuteness +as caused b$ o&er1strenth application o"
medication "or a milder chronic problem, or the o+ner miht not be +illin to admit to the use o"
irritational, or an$, treatments, 0ctin this +a$ makes it much more complicated "or the
&eterinarian to make a ood 'tentati&e* dianosis,
0"ter takin a thorouh histor$, the &eterinarian +ill not onl$ look at the skin, he +ill look at the
animal as a +hole, as man$ serious skin conditions are secondar$ to other underl$in problems,
For e)ample, incomprehensible itch miht be related to a tumor 'paraneoplastic s$ndrome*, or
lesions limited to the +hite skin to li&er disease 'photosensiti&it$*, So, especiall$ in more di""icult
cases, the &eterinarian +ill not onl$ e)amine the skin but +ill per"orm a "ull clinical e)amination,
includin a rectal palpation and appropriate laborator$ tests,
The &eterinarian has a +hole rane o" dianostic tests a&ailable "or dermatoloical problems, The
most commonl$ used are the microscopic e)amination o" hairs and crusts "or parasites and "uni,
bacterial and "unal cultures, skin biops$, hematolo$ and blood biochemistr$, Ho+e&er, in some
cases, there is no use"ul test to make a dianosis, and tests can onl$ be used to rule out speci"ic
di""erential dianoses,
0n e)ample: 0 horse sho+s se&eral ra$ish rounded lesions +ith alopecia 'hair loss* and some
scalin, 2" the o+ner tells the &et that these lesions are acute and ha&e de&eloped in a "e+ da$s,
dermatoph$tosis 'rin+orm* is the most likel$ dianosis, and the &et +ill collect material "or a
"unal culture b$ cleanin the lesions and their surroundin care"ull$ +ith alcohol, +aitin "or the
area to dr$, and .pluckin/ hairs on the ede o" the lesions, The "unal culture can take one to
three, and dependin on the circumstances on the "arm, the &eterinarian +ill ad&ise treatment
'like bathin the horse +ith a topical anti"unal aent like natam$cin or enilcona(ole and cleanin
the surroundins* or tell the o+ner that the dermatoph$tosis tends to be sel"1limitin and that
man$ cases resol&e spontaneousl$, Veterinarian and o+ner can discuss the ad&antaes and
disad&antaes o" both approaches,
Ho+e&er, i" the o+ner tells the &eterinarian that the lesions ha&e been here "or months and do not
respond to treatment, the tentati&e dianosis +ill be sarcoid tumor, 2n this case, the &eterinarian
+ill take a skin biops$ to con"irm the dianosis and e)plain the di""erent treatment reimes that
can be chosen a"ter con"irmation o" the dianosis b$ the patholoist,
3)periences ha&e tauht us that the cheapest and best solution "or skin problems is an earl$
consultation o" the &eterinarian, Some .+aitin to see +hether nature +ill sol&e the problem/
miht be acceptable, but treatment should ne&er be started be"ore a &eterinarian has seen the
case and taken appropriate samples, i" indicated,
posted: 456758994, Last updated: 456758994,

Cancer: What You Can Do, What Your Veterinarian Can
by aurie !oo"rich, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, #ith y"ia Miller,

Laurie :oodrich, DV#, #S, Diplomate 0CVS
+ith L$dia #iller, DV#
With the ood comes the bad, 0lthouh our e%uine companions are li&in loner, lone&it$ brins
its o+n problems, 2n eneral, cancer is not &er$ common in the horse, but as the number o"
eriatric horses increases, the number o" horses that de&elop cancer also increases,
;$ "ar, the most common "orm o" cancer in the horse is skin cancer +ith e%uine sarcoid bein the
most common "orm o" skin cancer, This t$pe o" tumor is not malinant, is more common in
$ouner horses and has no ender or breed predilection, 2t can occur as a sinle nodule or as
more than one nodule in more than one place and can e&en occur as simple hair loss and
crustin, Common places "or this tumor to appear include the lo+er les< the roin< the ears, e$es
and lips and the area behind the elbo+s,
0nother common skin cancer, s%uamous cell carcinoma, is a malinant tumor, 2t appears +here
skin meets internal tissues such as the e$elids, lips, nose, and enitals and is the most common
tumor o" the e$e area,
Predilections "or a third common t$pe o" skin tumor in the horse, melanoma, include adult and
aed horses, the 0rabian breed, and +hite and ra$ hair color, #elanomas can be malinant or
benin and most "re%uentl$ occur around male enitalia, the tail and the anal area, ears, e$es,
neck and limbs,
D$A!%(S$S A%D &'*A&M*%&
=eardless o" the t$pe o" skin tumor a horse has, earl$ detection and appropriate treatment are
crucial, !+ners and carei&ers are responsible "or obser&in their horse closel$ on a reular
basis and "or arranin to ha&e a &eterinarian check an$ suspicious skin lesions, 3)amples o"
chanes in the skin that should be e)amined include more or less coloration, rouhenin,
enlarin, crustin and scalin and sometimes e&en -ust hair loss, The best +a$ to determine i" a
skin lesion is cancerous is to biops$ the area, +here the &eterinarian remo&es a small section and
sends it to a laborator$,
2" the sample is determined to be cancerous, the o+ner and &eterinarian discuss treatment
options takin into account the horse>s o&erall condition and use< the t$pe o" tumor< and the
di""erent treatments that are e""ecti&e "or this particular t$pe o" tumor, Lenth o" treatment,
treatment protocol, e""ecti&eness o" treatment and cost are important details to "ind out be"ore
startin treatment,
For the most common t$pes o" skin cancer 'sarcoids and s%uamous cell carcinoma*, treatment
most o"ten consists o" a combination o" surical remo&al and another mode o" therap$ such as
chemotherap$, ;$ e)cisin a portion o" the tumor be"ore startin the chemical portion o" therap$,
the medications can penetrate "urther into cancerous tissue, impro&in the chances o" complete
remo&al, !ther treatments include cr$otherap$, laser photo &apori(ation, immunotherap$,
h$perthermia and radiotherap$,
2" detected earl$, treatment o" skin cancer is ?91@9A success"ul +ith surical e)cision and
chemotherap$, Small, sinle lesions ma$ be treatable in the "ield "or an$+here "rom B899 to B499,
Larer tumors that ha&e in&aded deeper into local tissues are more di""icult to treat 'potentiall$
re%uirin re"erral*, more e)pensi&e to treat and more likel$ to ha&e an unsuccess"ul resolution,
The ood ne+s is that a ne+ compound, cisplatin, has had success rates o" @91C9A +hen used
on sarcoids and s%uamous cell carcinomas o" horses +hose o+ners +ere committed to the
treatment protocol, The protocol in&ol&es in-ections into the tumor b$ the &eterinarian e&er$ t+o
+eeks "or three to "i&e treatments, dependin on the si(e o" the tumor's*, This compound causes
little to no damae to surroundin tissues and &er$ little recurrence has been reported,
Like most in-uries and illnesses, the chances "or complete reco&er$ are better the sooner the
problem is detected and treated, Skin cancer in the horse is no di""erent, 0nd +hile horses handle
cancer treatment &er$ +ell, it should onl$ be undertaken a"ter a complete discussion o" the
disease +ith $our &eterinarian and a "irm decision to carr$ out the treatment protocol,
posted: ?57@58998, Last updated: ?57?58996,

Prou" +lesh
by Christina Cable, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, Mike ,all, DVM

My horse ha" a cut on his lo#er cannon bone an" my -et .a-e me
instructions on ho# to #rap it to pre-ent prou" /lesh. What is prou" /lesh,
an" can it really become a problem, or is he bein. o-erly cautious0
3)uberant ranulation tissue, or proud "lesh as it is more commonl$ kno+n, is part o" the normal
+ound healin response in the horse, :ranulation tissue is the pebbl$ or ranular appearin
tissue +hich de&elops in healin +ounds an$+here on the horseDs bod$, :ranulation tissue is
composed o" small blood &essels and "ibroblasts, but has no ner&e suppl$, :ranulation tissue
"orms primaril$ in +ounds le"t open to heal, rather than those +ounds that are primaril$ closed
'sutured*, This healin tissue is bene"icial +ithin open +ounds "or se&eral reasons:7* :ranulation
tissue helps the open +ound resist in"ection< 8* 0s it "ills the healin +ound, it pro&ides a sur"ace
"or the epithelial 'skin* cells on the peripher$ o" the +ound to Ecra+lE o&er and help co&er the
+ound< 6* :ranulation tissue helps aid the +ound in contractin or becomin smaller,
:ranulation tissue is a &er$ important and necessar$ part o" +ound healin in the horse,
Ho+e&er, there can be problems +hen the horse de&elops too much ranulation tissue,
=esearch has "ound that horses ha&e the abilit$ to produce ranulation tissue in +ounds %uite
rapidl$ +hen compared to other animals, When ranulation tissue ro+s out and protrudes "rom
the +ound, then the ranulation tissue is kno+n as proud "lesh, Proud "lesh is not conduci&e to
+ound healin as it pre&ents the +ound "rom epitheliali(in 'the process o" the skin cells co&erin
the +ound*,
Proud "lesh sometimes can take on a Eli"e o" its o+nE i" the healin +ound is not manaed
properl$, The ranulation tissue can become so lare it appears to be a tumor, usuall$ obliteratin
the oriinal +ound, :ranulation tissue in this e)cessi&el$ e)uberant "orm usuall$ occurs +ithin
+ounds on the distal 'lo+er* le o" the horse, such as +ounds o&er the cannon bone or pastern
area, :ranulation tissue in this "orm can be &er$ di""icult to manae,
We belie&e e)cessi&e e)uberant ranulation tissue "orms as a result o" se&eral di""erent "actors11
e)cessi&e mo&ement o" the healin tissue, minimal so"t tissue co&erae around the +ound,
contamination 'in"ection* o" the +ound, and a reduced blood suppl$, These "actors are especiall$
important "or +ounds that occur in the lo+er limbs, 2n those areas there is minimal so"t tissue,
such as muscle, to protect the +ound and i&e it a rich blood suppl$, Furthermore, there is little
e)tra skin in those areas, makin lare +ounds di""icult to close &ia suturin, Wounds on the
lo+er les are contaminated easil$ +ith bacteria since the +ounds are closer to the round,
beddin, and manure, 0lso, the constant mo&ement o" the horseDs les as he +alks, turns, and
bears +eiht can reatl$ impair healin, especiall$ i" the +ound occurs o&er a -oint, There"ore,
+hen +ounds occur in these areas, steps need to be taken immediatel$ to pre&ent proud "lesh,
Pre&ention o" e)uberant ranulation tissue in&ol&es ood +ound manaement, 0n$ sini"icant
+ound should be e&aluated and treated b$ a &eterinarian as soon as possible, Proper and timel$
manaement is crucial to a satis"actor$ outcome "or an$ +ound, but especiall$ those o" lo+er
limbs, ;andain is &er$ important in the pre&ention o" e)uberant ranulation tissue and helps
pre&ent bacteria "rom contaminatin the +ound, 2t also helps maintain a health$ en&ironment "or
optimum healin, and helps reduce motion o" the tissue, aain optimi(in +ound healin, You
should co&er the +ound +ith a non1stick pad and some t$pe o" con"ormin au(e bandae,
Dependin on the +ound location, that can be "ollo+ed b$ a thick cotton bandae and an elastic
bandae to pre&ent contamination o" the +ound "rom beddin and dirt, The pressure "rom the
bandae helps pre&ent the ranulation tissue "rom becomin e)uberant,
The treatment o" +ounds that ha&e de&eloped e)uberant ranulation tissue usuall$ depends on
the e)tent o" the o&erro+th, #ild o&erro+th o" tissue11-ust protrudin abo&e the sur"ace o" the
+ound11miht re%uire onl$ steroid ointment applied directl$ to the ranulation tissue to inhibit the
ro+th o" the e)uberant tissue, then bandain o" the +ound to pre&ent "urther ro+th o" the
ranulation tissue and to encourae +ound epitheliali(ation, #oderate to se&ere o&erro+th o"
ranulation tissue re%uires surer$ to remo&e the e)cessi&e tissue, The e)cessi&e tissue must be
remo&ed to allo+ the skin at the ede o" the +ound to ro+ o&er the +ound, The surer$ o"ten is
per"ormed +ith the horse standin, since the ranulation tissue has no ner&e suppl$, 0 moderate
amount o" e)uberant tissue can be remo&ed easil$ +ith a scalpel blade, Se&ere o&erro+th o"
ranulation tissue presents a special problem, as &er$ lare ranulatin masses must be
remo&ed either under eneral anesthesia or in se&eral staes, since blood loss can be %uite
sini"icant, Follo+in surical treatment o" moderate to lare ranulatin lare +ounds, a splint or
a cast miht be necessar$ to pre&ent the ranulation tissue "rom rero+in and to enable the skin
edes to ad&ance and co&er the +ound, 2n some cases, a skin ra"t is used to co&er lare
+ounds, speed healin, and reduce scar "ormation, 2n addition, laser surer$ can also be used,
Caustic aents, such as copper sul"ate, once +ere used to kill or inhibit e)uberant ranulation
tissue, Those are not recommended toda$, Those aents can se&erel$ inhibit health$ healin o"
skin i" abused, Ho+e&er, the -udicious application o" copper sul"ate to ranulatin +ounds can
pla$ a use"ul role in the manaement o" some +ounds,
For additional readin see Equine Wound Management b$ Ted S, Stashak,
Christina Cable, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, is a partner with her husband, Mike Ball, DVM, in Winter
Equine Mediine ! Surger" in #thaa, $.%. &heir pratie inludes primar" are, onsultation,
per'ormane horse problems, and linial pharmaolog".
posted: ?57@58998, Last updated: ?57@58998,

Hair oss
by Susan . White, DVM, MS, DAC$VM

I noticed that my Arabian mare was missing a patch of hair under her mane
at the beginning of the summer. Since then, the spot has gotten larger.
What causes this? How can I treat it?
Hair loss in the horse can be caused by something simple, such as environment and
temperature, or it can be caused by a more serious dermatophyte (fungus), such as
ringworm, that invades the hair follicles of the skin.
There are three phases of hair growth in the horse. Anyone who has clipped his or her
horse closely in the winter months, or has clipped the hair from around a wound, has
noticed how the hair has a growth period (anagen), a resting period (telogen), and a time
when the horse sheds as new hair arrives. Generally, it takes three to si weeks for hair to
grow after it has been lost, although that time varies in each individual and is dependent
on genetics. Horses will shed their hair seasonally as a result of changes in the length of
daylight. Ad!acent hair follices tend to be in different phases of the growth cycle, so that
no obvious shedding or bare spots are observed. "ou are used to seeing such cycles, but
what happens when suddenly your horse has a completely bare spot#
$f the area of hair loss is under the mane, it could be for a very benign reason encountered
by many stables during the summer. %cessive sweating during hot or humid times of the
year will occur where heat is trapped under the mane. &weat is absorbed by the keratin
layer of the epidermis, and the hair follicles remain moist for the duration of the hot
weather. That moisture causes the hair follicle to soften and release the hair.
The high protein and salt content in the horse's sweat also can dry in contact with the
horse's skin and cause irritation, which can lead to hair loss as well.
Hair loss due to heat and sweat also is commonly observed on the faces of horses, around
the eyes and the ears. This pattern of hair loss is many times the result of some horses'
aversion to having their faces washed during a bath or after hard work. The sweat and dirt
accumulate, spurring the loss of hair, and the horse appears as if he is wearing gray
(roper management, careful grooming, and thorough weekly washing of the horse can
help prevent hair loss due to the aforementioned reasons. However there still are many
horses which might glow with regular care and grooming, but lose areas of hair anyway.
The owner, while doing his)her best to prevent the cycle, might eventually have to accept
this as normal for the horse. Horses with long manes for show purposes, like the Arab
mentioned in the *uestion, might fare well with their manes +rench,braided to avoid
having the heat trapped against the neck. &mall individual braids will break the hair, but a
+rench braid directly down the top of the neck that is redone every few days will keep
long manes intact.
-ther, more serious hair loss can stem from dermatophyte infections. $f there is crusting
associated with hair loss (along the leading edge of the bald area), the owner might be
dealing with a dermatophyte such as ringworm. .efore purchasing and applying products
for these conditions, you should make sure that is, in fact, the cause of the hair loss. "our
veterinarian will pluck some hair and put it in dermatophyte test media (/T0). This
substance costs around three dollars for a !ar and has a color indicator that will decipher
whether the fungus is the airborne type that lands on hair all the time, or if it's a serious
dermatophyte that re*uires more rigorous treatment.
There are a number of topical antifungal agents that will help with ringworm and other
fungi, most of which are available over,the,counter from your drugstore or pharmacy.
&ome veterinarians use iodine or prescription anti,fungals. $t is not recommended to use
home remedies such as 1loro, as these agents will burn the skin.
+or proven ringworm, a problem arises when topical anti,fungal ointments sit on top of
the skin and surrounding hair and do not reach the hair follicle, where it is needed. A soft
toothbrush will solve this matter if used to brush the medication in at the base of the hair.
Here are the steps for effectively treating a fungal condition2
• 3ash the area with (almolive dishwashing li*uid (the green formula), as other
brands are too drying on the skin, or use a commercial horse shampoo without
additives that might irritate the skin.
• /ry the area with a clean towel.
• 4sing the soft toothbrush, brush the medication in to the affected area, making
sure that the medication is not !ust 5sitting on top5 of the area.
• 0ost importantly, communicate with your veterinarian about the condition and
avoid home remedies. "our veterinarian will be able to advise you on the best
course of treatment for your horse's individual hair loss problem.
Susan L. White, DVM, MS, DACIVM, is a professor at the
University of Georgia College of Veterinary Mediine
posted: ?57@58998, Last updated: ?57@58998,

&akin. the +rustration (ut o/ Summer Skin Problems
by Susan . White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACV$M, AA*P member, #ith
y"ia +. Miller, DVM

Skin problems in horses are some o" the most "rustratin disorders to manae "or both o+ner and
&eterinarian, Skin problems can dis"iure a horse, and e&en can cause unsoundness, 2n addition,
man$ skin diseases, such as alleries, ha&e a comple) cause so that one eas$ treatment is not
Sins o" alleries in man$ horses appear +ith the arri&al o" summer and become proressi&el$
+orse each $ear, !"ten horses +ith this histor$ are alleric to insect bites 'insect h$persensiti&it$*,
Se&eral di""erent clinical s$ndromes ha&e been associated +ith insect h$persensiti&it$, such as
Fueensland or s+eet itch, +hich is caused b$ Culioides species 'no1see1ums*, Ho+e&er, an$
bitin insect can be in&ol&ed in insect h$persensiti&it$, 2n "act, man$ a""ected horses are alleric to
the bites o" more than one kind o" insect,
The "irst sins can include redness and lare, "lat, circular s+ellins '+heals* or raised nodules
+ith or +ithout crustin, 2ntense itchin 'pruritus* o"ten leads to skin damae, hair loss, secondar$
in"ections, and thickened, +rinkled skin,
The best therap$ is to pre&ent insects "rom bitin $our horse, or at least reduce the number o"
bites, 3""ecti&e manaement strateies include:
• stablin durin times o" hih insect acti&it$
• directin "ans to the sur"ace o" the horse +hen stalled
• usin lon1actin insect repellents 'either on the horse or imprenated in mesh blankets
or other e%uipment*
2ntradermal skin testin '2DST* can help detect the insect or roup o" insects to +hich the horse is
most alleric, 2" determined, a desensiti(in &accine can be custom1made "or that horse,
0ppro)imatel$ 49A1G9A o" horses respond "a&orabl$ to desensiti(ation< ho+e&er, si) to 78
months is needed be"ore the horse recei&es the "ull bene"it o" this therap$,
0nother strate$ to control insect h$persensiti&it$ is decreasin the horseDs immune reaction
throuh corticosteroids, Dependin on the situation, these compounds can be applied directl$ to
the a""ected area's* or i&en s$stemicall$,
!ther skin diseases that can cause itchin include:
• hi&es 'recurrent urticaria*
• parasites 'onchocerciasis*
• rin+orm 'dermatoph$tosis*
• contact dermatitis
=ecurrent urticaria can be reconi(ed b$ the sudden appearance o" +heals in the skin, some o"
+hich miht coalesce, or ro+ toether, The skin lesions are a response to allerens that could
be inhaled, inested, or contacted in the en&ironment, The +heals miht disappear %uickl$ onl$ to
recur, or the$ miht remain o&er se&eral da$s,
2denti"$in the alleren is done b$ 2DST or b$ trial and error, This in&ol&es e)posin the horse to
di""erent allerens indi&iduall$, +hich is a tedious process but $ields a more speci"ic ans+er,
!nchocerciasis 'a+n1koe1sir1H231uh1sis* is h$persensiti&it$ to the lar&al stae o" a parasite that
can li&e in the horseDs skin, Transmitted to the horse b$ Culioides, these parasites are e""ecti&el$
controlled b$ the de+ormers i&ermectin and mo)idectin, There"ore, h$persensiti&it$ to them is
much less common toda$ than in the past,
=in+orm is characteri(ed b$ circular, patch$, or coalescin lesions o" hair loss11is another skin
disease that can cause itchin, Contrar$ to popular belie", the oranism that causes rin+orm is
not a +orm but a skin "unus, or dermatoph$te, 0 dianosis o" rin+orm can be con"irmed b$
culturin hairs plucked "rom the ede o" a lesion,
#an$ horses +ith alleric skin disease can de&elop contact h$persensiti&it$ to medications or
insect repellents used to treat the disease, makin the oriinal lesions +orse, For that reason,
$our &eterinarian miht re%uest that $ou stop treatment +ith all topical compounds and shampoos
'e)cept "or one or t+o* +hile preliminar$ dianostic +ork is per"ormed,
Finall$, horses kept in hot, humid areas can de&elop dermatophilosis, This disease, also called
rain scald or rain rot, is caused b$ bacteria and o"ten is mistaken "or a "unal disease, The
bacteria li&e in the outer la$er o" skin and cause "rom pinpoint to lare, crust$ scabs, When
remo&ed, the base o" the hairs can be seen stickin throuh the bottom o" the scab, 2n earl$ or
less1se&ere cases o" this disease, simpl$ remo&in the scabs +ith shampoos and curr$in +ill
take care o" the problem, #ore se&ere cases in +hich the in"ection has a""ected deeper la$ers o"
the skin miht re%uire antibiotics,
Your &eterinarian should be an acti&e partner in dianosin and treatin skin disease, particularl$
one that does not resol&e in one to t+o +eeks, ;$ care"ull$ e)aminin $our horse and "ollo+in
the proression o" the skin lesions, $ou can help $our &eterinarian choose a place to per"orm a
skin biops$11the best dianostic procedure "or troublesome or persistent skin disease, !nce a
dianosis is made, speci"ic therap$ can be recommended to resol&e the condition,
Susan (. White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACV#M, AAE) member, with ("dia *. Miller, DVM.

American Association o/ *1uine Practitioners
2345 $ron Works Pike
e6in.ton, 7Y 23588
9:3:; <==>3824
posted: ?57@58998, Last updated: 658458996,

Skin Problems
by Marc '. McCall, DVM

The horseDs larest and most &isible oran is his skin, 2ts -ob is to protect the internal orans "rom
the outside en&ironment< to help maintain constant temperature, +ater, and mineral balance< and
to pro&ide the sensations o" pain and touch, The skin is composed o" the epidermis11a dried
cellular la$er11and the dermis11the li&e portion o" the skin, The dermis holds the ner&e endins,
hair "ollicles, blood &essels, and s+eat lands, #ost skin problems oriinate in the dermal la$er,
Skin problems can be di&ided into se&eral roups, The most common problems arise due to
trauma, Lacerations, the most ob&ious e)ample, can be treated b$ surical repair or b$ allo+in
them to heal on their o+n, dependin on their location and si(e, Ho+e&er, allo+in them to heal
+ithout inter&ention can i&e rise to e)uberant ranulation or proud "lesh, This is a proli"eration o"
the tissue -ust belo+ the skin, 2t dela$s healin o" the skin b$ becomin a mechanical barrier to
miration o" dermal cells across the de"ect, Treatment includes surical or chemical remo&al o"
the e)cess tissue and medication to pre&ent rero+th +hile the skin brides the de"ect,
Chemical irritants such as urine, "eces, or human1applied substances like mustard oil or iner
can produce pro"ound skin problems, Some trainers appl$ mustard oil 'in combination +ith
chains* around the pasterns to accentuate a horseDs ait, This chemical can produce a pro"ound
skin in"lammation,
Sunburn also can be a direct trauma to the skin, a s$mptom o" underl$in disease, or an e""ect o"
the presence o" certain medications in the dermis, Sunburn o"ten occurs on the mu((le, around
the e$es, and on +hite1skinned reions, Pre&ention, as in humans, is mainl$ b$ limitin e)posure
to direct sunliht, Sunblock creams made "or humans +ork +ell on horse mu((les, althouh the
protectant must be replaced "re%uentl$ "or ma)imal e""ect, Sunburned skin +ill peel, and it takes a
+eek or so to heal, Skin burned due to s$stemic disease is called photosensiti(ation, 2t usuall$ is
related to diseases in&ol&in the li&er and can be dianosed +ith a blood test, !ccasionall$
sunburn can be caused +hen medications, such as tetrac$clines, make the skin more sensiti&e,
2n"ections o" the skin occur "re%uentl$, The skin has a normal "lora o" bacteria and "uni, This "lora
is not a problem unless the dermis is in-ured and the "lora ains access to the dermal and
subcutaneous areas, When bacteria in&ade, an abscess or tract "orms, Cream$, thick dischare
e)udes "rom the area, +hich becomes reddened and hot, Treatment is local cleansin +ith
po&idone iodine and +ater, accompanied b$ antibiotics, i" necessar$,
Funal in"ections o" the skin come in se&eral &arieties, The most common and least serious11
rin+orm11probabl$ is resident as a member o" the normal "lora and ains entr$ &ia small +ounds
or in"lamed areas, =in+orm in"ections are not associated +ith +orms, The in"ected areas are
commonl$ around the irth area, but can appear an$+here on the bod$, =in+orm appears to be
an irreularl$ shaped area o" partial or complete hair loss +ith crusts, Treatment includes
po&idone iodine baths and crust remo&al, Treatment takes at least t+o to three +eeks "or
resolution, !ther treatment options include medications such as Ful&acin, +hich can be
administered in the "eed, and a +ide &ariet$ o" shampoos, topical creams, and ointments
containin anti1"unal drus, 2t is important to disin"ect tack reularl$ and not share tack bet+een
in"ected and non1in"ected horses,
0n unusual "unal skin disease o" the "oot, ph$com$cosis, in&ol&es "uni o" the +"phom"es
species, This disease occurs primaril$ in Florida, and it in&ol&es se&ere in"ection o" the "oot and
associated pastern, This disease can cause loss o" portions o" the hoo", bone, and so"t tissues,
leadin to permanent lameness i" not aressi&el$ treated, Treatment includes surical remo&al
o" in"ected tissues, treatment +ith an anti1"unal mi)ture called Eph$co"i)er,E and luck,
Parasitic in"estations o" the skin o"ten occur, Lice, ticks, and nats are obser&ed in "olds, under
the mane, and in the ears, Treatment +ith shampoos containin p$rethrin, permethrin, or other
parasiticides pro&ide e""ecti&e treatment, Deep parasitic in"estations b$ +abronema lar&ae cause
open drainin sores called Esummer sores,E +hich occur predominantl$ in the southern Inited
States and are spread b$ "lies, Treatment is b$ e)cision and treatment +ith anti1parasitic drus
and ointments, These sores can appear an$+here on the horseDs bod$, but commonl$ are "ound
on the sheath and les, Lar&ae o" the ,nhoera species produce nodules on the chest and
Skin tumors are one o" the most "re%uent cancers "rom +hich horses su""er, S%uamous cell
carcinomas o"ten occur around the e$es or the sheath in liht1skinned horses, This tumor usuall$
is &er$ malinant and spreads to surroundin tissues %uickl$, Surical remo&al and local
chemotherap$ pro&ide the best chance o" cure, Sarcoids are thouht to be &iral in oriin and o"ten
occur on the trunk and around the e$es, Surical remo&al, local chemotherap$, and cr$osurer$
all ha&e been used as treatments, =ecurrence o" these tumors is %uite common, :ra$ horses
o"ten de&elop melanomas on their mu((les, underlines, and under the tailhead, 2n contrast to
humans, horse melanomas enerall$ are benin, althouh the$ do ulcerate and become in"ected
in some cases, #edication +ith cimetidine has been tried +ith &ariable results, Collaen
ranulomas, or nodular necrobiosis, are not true cancers, but present as skin masses o"ten on
the top o" the horseDs back, These masses o"ten respond to cortisone in-ections or surical
Skin problems in horses ha&e man$ causes, Proper dianosis and treatment are a team e""ort
bet+een $ou and $our &eterinarian, With man$ o" the problems, consistent care "or an e)tended
period o" time is the best +a$ to pre&ent recurrence,
-- Mar .. MCall, DVM, operates Cherr" Creek Animal Clini in )arker, Colo.
American Association o/ *1uine Practitioners
2345 $ron Works Pike
e6in.ton, 7Y 23588
9:3:; <==>3824
posted: ?57@58998, Last updated: ?57@58998,