Andre's '09 filly, Le'Sorna, is a grey and this will be my first experience owning this color from punkinhood on. My only experience with greys was a Lipizzaner mare and foal but they went to their new home shortly after baby was born.
I would never go seeking this color out but it just happened that's what she was.
Is it important to protect her now from sun to help prevent cancer later in life, or is it purely in the genes and cancer will happen with or without sun protection?
Her mother and her grandmother are both greys and neither of them have any melanomas. Of course Andre is bay so he has none.
Figures that such a perfect little Arab baby is in the most undesirable color there is.
Melanomas in horses is not related (well, mostly, more in a sec) to melanomas in humans. In humans, it's more or less caused by sun exposure (though I new a guy growing up who was always pasty white, never went in the sun without sunscreen, hats, long sleeves, etc, and died of a very nasty aggressive melanoma, so maybe there are other types not necessarily caused by sun).
In horses, the graying process systematically removes melanin from the hair's pigment, which is what causes the hairs to lighten and whiten. The melanin doesn't just go away, it starts concentrating in the skin. At some point, many grays will develop melanomas as a result.
In and of themselves, melanomas are not deadly, not like human melanoma. The issue with these is that they can start impairing life functions as they grow and multiply - breathing, elimination, internal organs, etc.
Most horses who develop melanomas end up dying of something entirely unrelated.
The "more in a sec" part was in reference to a study that was started some years ago, which I have lost track of, in looking more into the horse melanomas to see if anything could be found to help humans either survive or prevent them. I wish I knew what became of that study.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
The damage to the skin that triggers melanoma in susceptible humans can be "only a little bit", as in JB's pasty white friend. Some skin is simply so very sensitive to UV damage that the DNA that sets off the melanoma is incredibly fragile. (oversimplified)
UV damages ALL of our skins (humans!), and it's UV damage to our DNA in the melanin-producing cells that sets off the tanning process. Or, in the case of some, the neoplastic process.
So that "healthy tan" means our DNA is getting bombarded with carcinogenic UV light, and that our bodies are coping the best they can. Wear your sunscreen and your hats! It seems that very dark-skinned folks (like me) who tan readily and never burn are somewhat protected, but that doesn't mean melanoma can't happen to any of us. It is a dreadful disease. I've seen it in black people, and in places where the sun never shines. Be sensible.
I don't currently have any grays, but I do have 4 paints. Ivory is a good soap for regular baths with a little Quiksilver mixed in once in a while. Lots of conditioner as well. If you keep that coat well moisturized and healthy (good nutrition as well, but you know that) the hair will not stain as easily. Show Sheen (or equivelant) will also help keep her cleaner longer. Too many baths will dry her out fast! Hope that she doesn't want to be a chestnut like my old show pony! Some are pigs and some just aren't.
As far as melanoma, talk with your vet about her risk. Check under her tail and between her hind legs...all the usual places, often. Hopefully, you will be able to tell if its becoming an issue.
Good luck with your new girl!!
Just cause you move to Texas, doesn't mean you are a Texan. After all, if a cat puts her kittens in the oven, It doesn't make them Bisquits.
I will get some photos up as soon as I can. She's a fancy little squirt. She's all legs and should be fairly tall. She seems to have all the good traits of both mom and dad. She just turned 1 year and her first trailer ride was a total non-event. She walked right on and stood there eating her hay. You'd never know there was a horse in there and especially one who's never been on a trailer before. The trainer says that everybody who stops over has to love on the baby because she's so sweet. Those precious little Arab velvety teacup muzzles are heavenly Sweets still has that wonderfully soft muzzle and wants it up in your neck all the time. I hope Le'Sorna will be the same.
I knew the COTH'ship would have the melanomaa and grey info I needed, so thank you!
I agree with SmartAlex, skip the shampoo. It'll get tiresome, not to mention while Quic Silver and other shampoos that are designed for greys are fairly good, they shouldn't be used very often (as in as often as a grey gets dirty) because I found they dried my geldings skin out. What was my best friend was Vetrolin Shine. His tail was beautiful and white and the dirt came off with some good elbow grease. Also, I used baby powder for more stubborn spot - if needed (winter), it worked quite well and wasn't harsh.
You know you're a horse person when your mother, who has no grandchildren, gets cards addressed to Grandma, signed by the horses, cats, and dogs.
Greys are my specialty! The vet that did the PPE's said that melanomas are standard equipment in most greys, mostly they do not affect them and not to make that a deterrant if you otherwise love the horse. I went along with that and have not regretted it. It seems that from Europe, at least, there is a never ending supply of jumping horses that are grey.
Rubbing alcohol, though you don't want to overdo it as it IS drying, seems to work about as well as the fancy spot and stain removers and is a LOT cheaper. And the bath poufs you get at the dollar stores are great for scrubbing! Even with water alone, they do wonders!
Teach your baby not to mind having her head sprayed (gently!) with the hose--I wish someone had taught Dancer this! We're working on it!
Greys are NOT undesirable--they're NOBLE!! (This is what I keep telling myself!)
I showed my grey arab in hunters for three years. There were days that I wanted to paint the rest of him brown and just go Neither him or anyone in his family have had cancer problems or anything, but he does get sunscreen on his little pink nose every day. One thing that worked amazingly was mixing rubbing alcohol and quic silver in a spray bottle and rubbing the stains away for shows and stuff. And I don't know what you're talking about, greys are adorable!!