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Scratches-prone horse - supplements?

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  • Scratches-prone horse - supplements?

    Hello,

    I am posting on behalf of a friend. He has a 6 year old AQHA who seems particularly prone to scratches (same barn as me). The horses live out 24/7, have very nice shelters, good quality pasture/forage. His horse lives with his 3 others on about a 4-5 acre pasture on a hill (so good drainage). His horse has socks on two feet, and they seem to be the worse.

    His horse is fed good grain and a diet balancer (Nutrena and Progressive) as per vet, ground flax seed for Omega 3 and 6, Performance vitamin supplements (as of the last month). The vet has been very involved with this horse, and he just seems very prone to scratches. When there's sustained rains, he comes into the barn, when there are "dewey" stretches he comes into the barn at night, he's been on systemic antibiotics and topical abs and anti-fungals, his pasterns get washed with medicated shampoo (from vet)... He's otherwise healthy, active, ridden about once a week, and doesn't seem to get skin funk elsewhere. He otherwise has a clean bill of health. The owner tried leg fly wraps in the summer to keep the flies off, but the wraps exacerbated the scratches.

    No one else on the property has scratches like this horse! They're (the owners) trying to support his immune system through quality feeding and topicals, and wondering about alternative therapies/topicals/ etc.

    Has anyone had a very susceptible horse to such skin funk and were you able to better support the horse's immune system through anything? Or, how did you deal with chronic scratches in a horse?

    Again, this isn't my horse, but I'm asking on behalf of very frustrated owners. Their vet is involved but the horse just seems so susceptible to scratches. I'd love to be able to pass along helpful ideas.

    Thanks!!
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

  • #2
    I addled copper and zinc to my horse's diet. His scratches went away, and never came back. How much may depend on the horse. While others at the stable were fine, my horse required more. If his diet is high in Iron, this can also offset copper and zinc.

    I just bought copper and zinc separately and added them in the proper ratio. It was inexpensive, and I no longer have to use any topical products.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep, some added copper and zinc is where I always suggest people start with this, and I'd guess 90% of the time that does the truck.

      Uckele, Horsetech, and California Trace carry polysaccharide copper and p-zinc. Mixing them 1:1 on a volume basis, and feeding 1 scoop, will give you the right ratio relative to each other, and is a nice amount to get most horses up to where they should be. And, with what you're currently feeding, it's not going to cause an OD
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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      • #4
        Yep, there definitely seems to be an issue with the copper/zinc/iron balance in your area, J-Lu, between this horse and your bleaching one. Didn't your horse have some skin funk, too?

        Comment


        • #5
          100% agree with others regarding the copper and zinc. IME the skin conditions can usually be resolved through adjustments in nutrition. But for the short term, "hands on" treatments, I usually suggest people smear on Desitin or plain Vaseline daily or every other day to help soften up the existing crud and offer some protection.

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          • #6
            Yes, our general area has lots of iron in the soil
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


            • #7
              My younger horse used to have every minor scratches on and scrape below knee/hock level go fungal before it healed. After chasing a particularly bad batch around his leg one summer I had him tested and ended up supplementing vitamin E. He gets 3000iu added to his daily feed and has been healing normally during the past few years. His test result was in the normal range, but right down at the bottom end. It was right in the middle last time I checked.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks, everyone!!

                JB and Simkie , The Iron in the soil here varies greatly. It's quite high in JBs area, lower in mine. We did pasture and soil samples, and the BO and a training client are both professional geologists. I've learned so much about soil!

                It has been a very wet year, and many of the horses here got some kind of funk (yes, mine did, too! He recently had skin funk at the base of his mane, previously had eosinophilic infiltration of the skin that caused lumps - they are gone now). But THIS horse gets scratches at a significantly higher rate than any other horse on the property. Much more than his own pasturemates. My horse does bleach, I've consulted nutritionists who suggest his bleaching isn't indicative of pathology given his diet. I plan to add copper, I boost his zinc already. I analyzed his pasture to see what he was eating and plan to do the hay, too.

                CanteringCarrot, I will pass that suggestion along. Thank you!! Their vet suggested colloidal silver, and that is what they are trying now. I am skeptical about a heavy metal to boost the immune system. But they will be interested in this suggestion. Thanks for the suggestions of sources, JB!

                splitrockfarmnc , the horse gets pretty good nutrition, supervised by his vet. Desitin didn't help at all, even when combined or placed over antibiotic/antifungal stuff. I made a vaseline/pen/strep/ampho-C mix (and a shampoo with pen/step/ampho-B that treated my horse's wither/mane funk), and he tried that with desitin over it - no luck. He treats the horse daily, and they've had to resort to bringing the horse in at night - especially now that it has been soooooooooooooooo wet (he has basically lived inside for the last week)! He has clipped the area to facilitate drying.

                RedHorses, thanks for that information. I will suggest this as well!
                Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                Comment


                • #9
                  One of my horses has tons of chrome and has been very prone to scratches since I've known her. My first summer owning her, 2017, she developed a raging case of scratches just as she had with her former owner the previous few years.

                  This past summer, my second summer of owning her and fifth year of knowing her, she did not develop scratches. I took the same preventative measures I did last year: daily rubbing of white legs with medicated powder and a bit of Desitin on the heel bulbs and lower pasterns every couple of days. The one thing I did differently? I didn't clip her legs at all except for the excessive feathers she grows. I don't know if that made the difference, but I'm not clipping her legs again next summer. I'll be interested to see if she develops scratches summmer 2019.
                  "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

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                  • #10
                    Totally agree with the Cu/Zn.

                    But it if that doesn't cure the problem, the next idea might be to try eliminating common inflammatory triggers from the diet. I had one horse who could not handle even the smallest amount of corn or molasses in his diet without developing skin issues. Other horses can be sensitive to soy, wheat, alfalfa, etc.
                    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Grain AND a diet balancer AND supplements... Can cause mineral imbalances. Has your friend added it all up to see what her horse is actually getting? Also, where is the hay coming from? Has it been tested?
                      Some grains, balancers and supplements are really high in iron. This will really affect the cu/zn uptake. Also, this horse, for whatever reason may just need more of one of the minerals. And we don't know a lot. Let the horse tell you what he needs, as a diet analysis may not be sufficient to say it's NOT the diet.
                      "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                      "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree, simply looking at numbers on paper doesn't mean it's right for that horse. Use it as part of the whole picture. I'm curious - what are the total fe/cu/zn numbers for this horse's diet? And your bleaching horse's diet?
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It's truly amazing how much we still don't understand. Sometimes when it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

                          Have you read about the DCM in dogs that seems to be related to diet, but the dogs and diet have normal taurine? They don't know quite what's going on, but they know breeds that aren't prone to DCM are developing it and changing the diet helps resolve it. Why? Don't know yet.

                          I hope you don't let your bias prevent you from sharing the multiple recommendations to try copper and zinc supplementation. It's so easy and cheap and benign if you're wrong. And you have so, so, so very many signs indicating copper and zinc could be of help.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                            "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by seabreeze View Post
                              I didn't clip her legs at all except for the excessive feathers she grows. I don't know if that made the difference, but I'm not clipping her legs again next summer. I'll be interested to see if she develops scratches summmer 2019.
                              What helped in all the horses I had to treat from scratches was actually to clip the back of the pastern.

                              To me, what worked best was to keep the legs as dry as possible + Special Formula 17900 (until scratches are gone) + Aluspray ad lib. regularly even after the scratches are gone.

                              Dr. Scholls' powder to dry the legs/pastern is also really good when the treatment is done. You can use it daily.

                              ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                              Originally posted by LauraKY
                              I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                              HORSING mobile training app

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post

                                What helped in all the horses I had to treat from scratches was actually to clip the back of the pastern.

                                To me, what worked best was to keep the legs as dry as possible + Special Formula 17900 (until scratches are gone) + Aluspray ad lib. regularly even after the scratches are gone.

                                Dr. Scholls' powder to dry the legs/pastern is also really good when the treatment is done. You can use it daily.
                                Yes, once they have scratches, clipping is necessary. I meant that I didn't clip legs this year and it so happened they didn't get scratches. I don't know if they didn't get scratches BECAUSE I didn't clip legs, but I'm willing to test the theory again next season.

                                FWIW, my horse with lots of chrome who is quite predisposed to scratches responds well to treatment with scarlet oil.
                                "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                  It's truly amazing how much we still don't understand. Sometimes when it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

                                  Have you read about the DCM in dogs that seems to be related to diet, but the dogs and diet have normal taurine? They don't know quite what's going on, but they know breeds that aren't prone to DCM are developing it and changing the diet helps resolve it. Why? Don't know yet.

                                  I hope you don't let your bias prevent you from sharing the multiple recommendations to try copper and zinc supplementation. It's so easy and cheap and benign if you're wrong. And you have so, so, so very many signs indicating copper and zinc could be of help.
                                  Do you always have to be so argumentative?
                                  Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks everyone!

                                    JB and Stacie, the diet has not been analyzed for this horse. The diet was analyzed for my horse (including pasture). The diet balanced out with balancer. Zinc is on the higher side here. JB, you have already seen the numbers and this was discussed on the other site months ago. I offered to analyze this horse's diet, but they haven't taken me up on that. They are following their vet's recommendations.

                                    The hay is fairly local. I am planning to have it analyzed by NC state when I can borrow a coring thingy from my local extension. The hay this year comes from a different source than the hay last year. Like I mentioned, this horse is pretty much the only horse on the property with scratches issues and he has had issues for almost a year.

                                    alibi_18 and seabreeze , He clipped his horse's pastern/problem areas last night. I can't say how good the clip job was, but it happened! He's going to try breathable slinky-type leg wear this winter to keep dirt out (per his vet). The desitin attracted a lot of dirt and therefore wasn't helpful. Hmmmmm, scarlet oil. Thanks for the moisture-wicking agent suggestions, alibi_18. Right now, he's inside all night, these powders might be really useful before turnout.

                                    Thank you for your suggestions!! I will pass them along!

                                    Dr. Doolittle . The rain. The RAIN! Ugghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! We had almost a year's worth of rain in Sept, then more rain in Oct/Nov. We got a year's worth of snow last week! We are similarly tired of mud!!
                                    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A vet once gave me a fabulous and cheap topical for scratches. 50:50 mix of witch hazel and betadine solution. Soak a cotton ball apply to the scabs soaking time and leave it on. Repeat at least once a day for several days. Then the scabs dry up, fall off and there is lovely clean skin underneath. Worked like a charm for me. I concur that Cu and Zn seems to help prevent them occurring in the first place.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If the scratches is fungal in nature I'd supplement pre & probiotics. I had great success with a pony prone to rainrot that went away once I started supplementing pre/ probiotics.

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