I just returned from holiday + business to find my show horse missing a good chunk of her mane plus the underside coming out by the handful. Needless to say, I am not too pleased.
The boarding barn has been turning her out with all her stall wardrobe on so that she didn't get an opportunity to properly "air out" [the mud on her stable blanket and sleazy lead me to this conclusion]. I pointed it out to the BO who said she had hadn't noticed the missing mane, but that she was the only one blanketing my horse. I am not sure how you could miss it if you were taking the hood on / off, but okay. I reiterated my blanket instructions - which are on the form she had everyone fill out at the beginning of the season - that the mare is not to wear anything but a TO sheet during the day.
That said, I have never had any skin or hair issues with this horse before and it is currently localized to her mane, UTD on everything and nothing has recently changed in her feed.
Any thoughts on what is going on? Perhaps some advice on how to stop the damage and preserve her mane... or at least what is left of it?
Not to scare you, but you may want to have some blood drawn. This is from Chaffee Park County Extension Office at Colorado State:
Symptoms of Selenium Toxicity
Horses suffering from chronic selenium toxicity are said to have "alkali disease." The excess selenium causes the loss of mane and tail, the first indicator that your horse may be suffering. Many horse owners mistakenly label an innocent pasturemate as a tail-chewer when this occurs. However, upon further inspection, hair loss areas appear to have had a set of clippers run over them. A dull coat normally accompanies the hair loss.
Could the blanket have rubbed her mane? Or perhaps she was itchy without being groomed and rubbed it off on something? Anyway, MTG may help preserve some hair/skin if the skin looks dry. If she is in fact rubbing it like one may rub a tail, I would consider remedies for that... Odd indeed
Is she turned out with other horses? My horse was loosing his mane one winter, from the withers area upward. It would fall out in chunks when I would groom him. I noticed later that his 'buddy' outside had the same problem. Seems they were chewing each others manes off or playing tug of war or something. By the time winter was over, they each were missing about a foot of mane, right down to the skin. Funny thing was, they both quit at the same time in the spring, and the following winter left each others manes alone. Odd, maybe they were more bored than usual that year?