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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2004
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    146

    Default Persistent Skin Condition - Need Advice

    Let me start off by saying that this is not my horse. She belongs to a friend, but that friend is at a loss as to what to do so I thought she could use some COTH wisdom. I gathered as much information as I could, but if you need more, just ask.

    Horse is 10 y/o APHA mare. Late last spring/early summer she started getting really itchy on her hindquarters (on either side of where the tail sits). She would scratch it on anything and everything she could find, to the point where she lost her hair in those areas would occasionally scratch to the point of bleeding. Just to clarify, she wasn't scratching the tail. It actually appeared that she would lift her tail up and then scratch because the hair on her tail didn't seem to be damaged in any way. So, friend separated mare from other horses into a hot-wired section of pasture where she couldn't scratch on anything. She was still itchy and her hair didn't seem to be growing back.

    Friend called the vet. These are the things that they tried:
    -Worming (horse was already on a routine worming schedule)
    -Medicated Shampoos
    -Shots in the area (don't know what kind, sorry. Friend said it may have started with a B)
    -MTG

    All of this wasn't tried at the same time. They would try one thing, give it some time, then move on to the next thing. Nothing worked. Vet was stumped and had no more ideas as to what was causing the problem.

    Initially, we thought it may have been some sort of allergy that she developed over the summer, but the problem has persisted through winter. The itchiness isn't as bad, but she is still lacking hair on her rump on either side of her tail and the skin appears dry and flaky. She will scratch on things if given the chance.

    If it helps, the mare also developed some general unthriftiness last year (around late summer/early fall). Her coat is dull and she lost a lot of muscle along her topline. She wasn't getting worked regularly at the time.

    I still suspect worms, but friend is pretty adamant that it's not worms. She hasn't had a fecal done. The horse is also on a fairly poor-quality feed, so she was wondering if that could be a factor. She is planning on switching to a better brand soon. My vet will be coming out in March, and friend is planning on asking for a second opinion, but was hoping to figure out something to do in the meantime.

    BTW, there are 5 other horses turned out with this mare (when she isn't scratching her bum to death) and none of them are having any kind of issues like this.

    If you're still with me, kudos to you! I'd appreciate any insight on the issue..



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
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    Default

    It may be parasites, but NOT the kind that live in the gut...

    Yeah, it's long, but try to get through at least the majority of it, especially the Scientific Links and the case studies: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=155469

    Most folks who didn't see a change either didn't follow the protocol properly/long enough or there was truly something more nefarious going on skin wise that required biopsy and more advanced veterinary care.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2008
    Posts
    838

    Default

    could we have pictures?
    Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
    Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2004
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    146

    Default

    ChocoMare- Thanks for the link, I'll definitely take a look at that.

    skip916 - I don't have any right now, but I'll see if I can get some soon.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2010
    Posts
    54

    Default

    There are certainly several things that could cause this. I would consider doing two things- 1. a steroid trial- if its allergic in any way, your vet can prescribe dexamethasone or prednisolone (both steroids) for a time (would probably try about a month of tapering dosage). 2.- biopsy the edge of the hairless area. The biopsy would be easy - your vet would use a "punch" tool to take a small sample of the skin and close the wound with 1 or 2 sutures. You'd have results in about a week, after the biopsy sample was sent to a lab for analysis. I'd suggest the biopsy first except for the fact that she's itchy- which does make me wonder about allergic causes. If she's been dewormed adequately, parasites are pretty unlikely (even weird ones like onchocerca). Don't forget to simply make sure her "girl parts" - all of them- are nice and clean. Good luck! Skin stuff can be a real pain.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 12, 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    414

    Default

    i would try a good flax supplement. you can feed straight flax seed or buy stabilized ground flax from Horsetech, which is what I use.

    I also use equinacea from equilite (horse.com) and spirulina (herbalcom.com).

    my horse lost all his hair the first summer i had him and the combination of these 3 items keeps him pretty comfortable year round.

    you can usually lower the dosage of the equinacea and spirulina once you get the problem under control.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,229

    Default

    The horse isn't located in FL, or an area of the country with a similar climate, is she?

    I ask because my mare has had major itchy issues on her butt, but she only seems to have problems in FL, in the winter. I tried pretty much everything. She's on good feed, but that never made a difference. Shampoos never helped either. The only thing that has helped is SmartOmega3. I've tried other flax supplements, including Omega Horseshine, with no luck. She was already on a hoof supplement due to chronic thrush. But the SO3 made a huge difference. She gets 1.5 scoops in the winter, and about a half scoop in the summer.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2004
    Posts
    146

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PinkChampagnePony View Post
    There are certainly several things that could cause this. I would consider doing two things- 1. a steroid trial- if its allergic in any way, your vet can prescribe dexamethasone or prednisolone (both steroids) for a time (would probably try about a month of tapering dosage). 2.- biopsy the edge of the hairless area. The biopsy would be easy - your vet would use a "punch" tool to take a small sample of the skin and close the wound with 1 or 2 sutures. You'd have results in about a week, after the biopsy sample was sent to a lab for analysis. I'd suggest the biopsy first except for the fact that she's itchy- which does make me wonder about allergic causes. If she's been dewormed adequately, parasites are pretty unlikely (even weird ones like onchocerca). Don't forget to simply make sure her "girl parts" - all of them- are nice and clean. Good luck! Skin stuff can be a real pain.
    I'll have to ask her if the vet did a scraping or biopsy - I don't think he did though. Might be something to consider for next month when my vet comes out. I'm pretty sure that she keeps her lady parts clean, but I'll mention that also. And I looked at the link that ChocoMare posted about onchocerca, but that doesn't really seem to fit. She isn't exhibiting any of the main symptoms.


    Quote Originally Posted by Give and Take View Post
    i would try a good flax supplement. you can feed straight flax seed or buy stabilized ground flax from Horsetech, which is what I use.
    Forgot to mention this, but I believe she did get flax seed all summer last year. Might be worth it to try a different supplement though. She just used the straight flax seeds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hampton Bay View Post
    The horse isn't located in FL, or an area of the country with a similar climate, is she?

    I ask because my mare has had major itchy issues on her butt, but she only seems to have problems in FL, in the winter. I tried pretty much everything. She's on good feed, but that never made a difference. Shampoos never helped either. The only thing that has helped is SmartOmega3. I've tried other flax supplements, including Omega Horseshine, with no luck. She was already on a hoof supplement due to chronic thrush. But the SO3 made a huge difference. She gets 1.5 scoops in the winter, and about a half scoop in the summer.
    No, the horse is in NE North Carolina. Never been to FL . I'll mention the supplement to my friend.

    Thanks for the help everyone! Anyone else have any ideas?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2010
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoMare View Post
    It may be parasites, but NOT the kind that live in the gut...

    Yeah, it's long, but try to get through at least the majority of it, especially the Scientific Links and the case studies: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=155469

    Most folks who didn't see a change either didn't follow the protocol properly/long enough or there was truly something more nefarious going on skin wise that required biopsy and more advanced veterinary care.
    I second this all the way.

    Was your friend giving GROUND flax seed? If it is not GROUND, it won't do anything for the horse.

    If your friend cannot get her on a better feed right now, I would certainly at least get her on a ground flax seed. Omega Horseshine is expensive- but you can get regular ground flax seed from your local feed store much cheaper.

    I know you said she has been dewormed, but has she had a Power Pac? No other dewormers kill the strongyles (SP?) except for the Power pac or the Quest PLUS.

    Considering she has a dull coat and is unthrifty, even though it is more expensive, I would recommend the Power Pac. Quest Plus is a lot cheaper, but Quest Plus also kills them all at once- which could lead to other issues. But the Power Pac is very safe and kills them off slowly. I have also seen a quicker response time with the Power Pac than the Quest Plus. Keep in mind, it will take about a month to see an improvement after using the Power Pac.

    If the mare is ribby but otherwise in good weight, that is yet another indication that she could use a Power Pac.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    PowerPac has a resistance problem in some areas. Quest is the wormer of choice for encsyted strongyles. The Plus takes care of tapeworms. If you use Equimax or Zimectrin Gold you already have the tapes covered.

    Quest usually causes less of a problem than PowerPac, in my experience because it paralyzes the encysted strongles instead of killing them off rapidly. That is assuming the horse has been efficiently wormed in the past and does not have a high worm load overall. In that case, Quest WILL kill off everything which could be dangerous. It's not a wormer for a horse with an unknown worming history.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,229

    Default

    Buying plain-old ground flax in a giant bag from a feed store isn't a good idea. It goes rancid quickly once it's ground. And yes, the whole flax DOES help the horse. They chew, or most of them do anyway, thus breaking the feeds opened. Sure, some will make it through without being chewed, but most of them get ground up just fine in the horse's mouth.

    I've used both Omega Horseshine and SmartOmega3, and the SO3 is a superior product. For some reason the OH never helped my itchy mare one bit, but the SO3 has completely ended the itchies.

    Agreed with Laura in reference to wormers. Quest has a lower incidence of colics in animals with a good worming history than PP does. Killing the encysted strongyles (PP) can cause an inflammatory reaction, resulting in colic, that paralyzing the buggers (Quest) just doesn't cause.



  12. #12
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    And HamptonBay, I agree with you. Love the SmartOmega3. Seems to really help with inflammatory problems. My guys aren't on a lot of supplements...Glucosamine, SmartOmega3 and I just started copper for the scratches/mud fever prone horse. The combo seems to be working and as an added side benefit, I haven't seen any wood chewing (he's an "I'm bored, come stop me" kind of wood chewer).
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  13. #13
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    Nov. 7, 2010
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    If the horse is already showing signs of being unthrifty, she most likely has a good infestation going on. You don't want to kill all of these off at once.

    Power Pac is the safest way to go.

    If you are going to use the Quest though, do still go with the Quest Plus because that particular one also stops strongle egg production for I think close to 3 months.



  14. #14
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    Nov. 7, 2010
    Posts
    281

    Default Flax seed

    http://americashorsedaily.com/feeding-flaxseed/

    Research conducted at the University of Guelph demonstrated that horses suffering from sweet itch, a common skin disease caused each summer by Culicoides insects (midges), improved dramatically following daily supplementation of their diet with one pound of milled flaxseed. Other benefits of flaxseed supplementation include stimulation of the immune system, relief of arthritis and reduction of pain due to inflammation, an increase in the ability of cells to take up oxygen, improved skin and hair coat and scavenging of free radicals. Because it is high in dietary fiber, it can also help prevent impaction and sand colics.

    Whole flaxseed, as opposed to milled flaxseed that has been ground, should be soaked in cold water for two to six hours and then boiled for 10 to 30 minutes to soften it and destroy any prussic acid that might be present. It is then fed, about ΒΌ cup (measured dry before soaking), as part of a bran mash once or twice a week per horse per feeding. The whole seed keeps well in storage for a long time, but ground flax will deteriorate fairly quickly. Many of the newer horse feeds contain milled flaxseed or linseed meal that will be listed on the label.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blondyb View Post
    If the horse is already showing signs of being unthrifty, she most likely has a good infestation going on. You don't want to kill all of these off at once.

    Power Pac is the safest way to go.

    If you are going to use the Quest though, do still go with the Quest Plus because that particular one also stops strongle egg production for I think close to 3 months.
    BlondyB, the Plus in Quest has nothing to do with strongyles. It is praziquantel which kills off tapeworms.

    If you don't know the horse's worming history, I would do a fecal first, which will give you an idea of the infestation, then start with something like Ivermectin, wait 4 weeks or so, then use Quest. Or, ask your vet, which is the best place to start anyway. As I said before, Quest is less likely to cause a colic in a horse with a known worming history than PowerPak, which again, has resistance problems. Quest also suppresses strongyle production for up to 84 days.

    And, that's assuming that worms have anything at all to do with itching. The best solution for itchy tails in any of my guys has been dandruff shampoo, then conditioner.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  16. #16
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    Nov. 7, 2010
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    As someone who has experience with a horse who shows anytime she is in need of a Power Pac- which is about once a year, I can tell you for a fact that the Power Pac does a much better job at doing it's job and showing results than Quest. At least with my horse.

    Dull coat, not thrifty, etc. all point to strongle issue- not sure if the itching is caused by the strongles, but the other points lead home.

    Also keep in mind that with the Quest, it is very easy to overdose on. This is the type of wormer you DO NOT want to be over on. There have been adverse reactions to it as well, especially in ponies.

    Power Pac is much safer to give and you can actually "overdose" them on it without having to worry too much. Hence the double dose x 5 days to begin with. You do not want to go giving Quest to an unthrifty horse to begin with.

    Unfortunately with ALL classes of dewormers we are seeing resistance. Which is why a lot of vets are now recommending longer than every 6-8 weeks.

    A fecal will also not tell you for sure that you don't have worms. It will only tell you what is being shed into the manure.

    Good luck with whatever you decide! Hope she improves.



  17. #17
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    Nov. 13, 2007
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    uhhhh, I've NEVER had a horse in need of a PP show with itching. and I had one colic due to encysteds, 18 months after a PP. the PP sure as hell didn't stop any itching.

    I also wouldn't give a PP to a horse who might have enough of a wormload to cause a dull coat, not without first getting a fecal to make sure I was addressing any worms that were shedding eggs.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hampton Bay View Post
    uhhhh, I've NEVER had a horse in need of a PP show with itching. and I had one colic due to encysteds, 18 months after a PP. the PP sure as hell didn't stop any itching.

    I also wouldn't give a PP to a horse who might have enough of a wormload to cause a dull coat, not without first getting a fecal to make sure I was addressing any worms that were shedding eggs.
    Maybe not- and I don't think the itching is due to the strongles either but if the horse has a dull coat, ribby and unthrifty, deworming her with either dewormer is going to help to get her healthy again- and possibly cause the itching to stop. Itching could be due to her not having healthy skin- and if she has a dull coat, she is probably not all that healthy in the inside anyways.



  19. #19
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    Apr. 9, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blondyb View Post
    As someone who has experience with a horse who shows anytime she is in need of a Power Pac- which is about once a year, I can tell you for a fact that the Power Pac does a much better job at doing it's job and showing results than Quest. At least with my horse.

    Dull coat, not thrifty, etc. all point to strongle issue- not sure if the itching is caused by the strongles, but the other points lead home.

    Also keep in mind that with the Quest, it is very easy to overdose on. This is the type of wormer you DO NOT want to be over on. There have been adverse reactions to it as well, especially in ponies.

    Power Pac is much safer to give and you can actually "overdose" them on it without having to worry too much. Hence the double dose x 5 days to begin with. You do not want to go giving Quest to an unthrifty horse to begin with.

    Unfortunately with ALL classes of dewormers we are seeing resistance. Which is why a lot of vets are now recommending longer than every 6-8 weeks.

    A fecal will also not tell you for sure that you don't have worms. It will only tell you what is being shed into the manure.

    Good luck with whatever you decide! Hope she improves.
    You have a horse that must be power packed 1 time a year????????? Sounds like a management problem to me.

    OP, the PP is a safe option if you find nothing else.



  20. #20
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    Oct. 27, 2010
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    Couple of things come to mind....reading through all so far. Pin worms or tapeworm could be the problem.....treat per vets advice.

    Bloodlines of the mare may be an issue....since she's APHA she could go back to QH bloodlines (likely in fact) and if she goes to Poco Bueno, no matter how far back, on both sides of her pedigree a genetic test for HERDA carrier status might be considered. It takes two genes for this condition to show up (it is a recessive so at this point it is thought that carriers have no symptoms...have heard rumors that that thinking may be changing but read nothing to verify so far). It CAN show as chronic skin issues, especially on light colored or white areas and esp in summer sun exposure. The carrier test is hair (mane, pulled with roots) and doesn't take long to get results back. UC Davis is doing testing as well as, I think, Cornell and maybe one or two private labs (there was some uproar over test patents I think so not sure how that all settled out). IF the test shows a positive horse (Hr/Hr) then a biopsy might be in order to see if THIS particular problem is related to the HERDA genetic problem. Biopsy for HERDA is a deep skin tissue biopsy going through all layers of skin and into underlying connective tissues....there is a protocol that your vet could get to do it as suggested by the researchers on this condition.



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