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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2002

    Default Bad Case of Scratches During Hottest+Driest Summer?

    My tough old gelding has never had scratches before, even living outside in the wettest months on a mud lot. So I am baffled as to why he has a bad case now, during the hottest and driest summer on record? Its covering his left hind leg, from coronet to above the hock.

    It itching him badly, to the point where he swings his butt around and pins me against the wall till I scratch his leg for him.

    I haven't done anything in terms of treatment becuz I would feel terrible to scrub off his scabs...... and I'm hoping it will go away.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2006


    What you describe is not scratches. I would wash with chlorhexidine daily and keep it wrapped during all day light hours. If it does not make marked improvement in 3-4 days, I would head into the vet for a skin scraping.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2005
    Portland, Oregon


    If it's really as bad as described, I'd call the vet NOW, not wait (I mean, not now, as in late Sunday night, but definitely call first thing Monday to schedule an appointment). That sounds like more going on than just "scratches" (granting that that in itself is something of a nebulous term), and probably in need of more than OTC treatments.

    (The last time I thought "it's just scratches" and kept trying to treat it myself even as it got worse, I ended up with 3 more months worth of treatment under the vet's oversight, and almost $1000 in vet bills. Not a place you want to go!)
    Proud member of the EDRF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World


    It might be this:

    Pastern Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis - This problem looks very much like common pastern dermatitis/ scratches... It is not. It is important to know which problem you are dealing with.

    For more information, see the box on the lower right on this page:

    Although if it is itching, it might not be that either.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008


    what you're describing sounds like chiggers, they like hot dry weather.

    My old gelding got them bad this year, all 3 black legs (they seem to not like white) up to his knees/hocks, and he even got them on his muzzle and some on his chest. He must have found one heck of a nest.

    If it is chiggers there isn't much you can do as the itching and swelling is from the damage left behind after the chigger has fed. I wash with pine tar soap and then slather the area with desitin. Takes about a week or so for the itching to subside, until then they are miserable.
    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2009


    It is probably due to the stress of the long hot dry summer.

    A human is not a chiggers normal food source. That is why they will make us itch.

    I am not sure if a horse is a normal food source, or not.

    If the chigger feeds on it's normal food source there is no itching.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by rmh_rider View Post

    If the chigger feeds on it's normal food source there is no itching.
    What is it's normal food source and did you ask it if it itches?? SOrry, couldn't resist

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