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Treating Scratches?

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  • Treating Scratches?

    Anyone have experience with IV injections of Sodium Iodide for treating scratches? My horse has a bad case, with lots of fetlock swelling. In addition to the topical treatment I've been doing (malaseb shampoo, followed by iodine solution, then desitin after drying), the doc recommended starting him on antibiotics and injections of sodium iodide.
    The antibiotics, I'm good with. The sodium iodide, I'm skeptical - especially considering the vet doesn't know what exactly it's supposed to do, but it works!
    Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe

  • #2
    I don't know about any kind of injection--that doesn't sound good to me! Antibiotics maybe--because scratches/rain-rot is a bacterial infection.

    I just soak my guy with MTG (has Sulfur in it) and it has worked so far.


    • #3
      Never heard of it. We use SMZ's and an ointment made up of Silver Sulfadiazine and steroids. I find that to be more effective on scratches and MTG. I do however use MTG on most every other kind of "funk". My vet will give Naquazone if there is a lot of swelling involved.
      Originally posted by EquineImagined
      My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


      • #4
        I've had 2 bad cases of scratches this year. One was resolved by being clipped and kept in standing wraps/stalled at night. I also put Desitin on before he went out.

        The other was a much more difficult case. I clipped him and kept him in with standing wraps also. We tried SMZ's..no change. We just did Exceed (2 shots) and he showed improvement but not completely. ughh. I'm interested to hear about the injections...
        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


        • #5
          Rain rot, mud fever, scratches . . . anaerobic fungus. Not bacteria.

          Chlorhexidine is medically and scientifically well documented and regarded as an anti microbial including anaerobic fungus due to its mechanism of action being microbial cellular membrane disruption.



          • #6
            Since we're quoting wikipedia:

            "Rainscald (also called rain rot or dermatophilosis) is caused by the same bacteria that can contribute to Mud fever - Dermatophilus congolensis. It is a skin infection that can appear on horses’ backs, if they are left out in wet weather. It is more commonly seen in the winter months when the horses' coats can remain wet for long periods of time. The bacteria get into the soft, wet skin on the back, causing the skin to weep, become flaky and crusted, and the coat to matt. Longer coats may not help the situation."

            "Keep the horse inside, until the skin has healed. Remove the horse from wet, muddy conditions. Scabs can be gently removed and antiseptic washed containing chlorhexidine or iodine used. The veterinarian may administer oral antibiotics/penicillin and supplements. The stable should also be kept as clean as possible. You can also use dawn or M-T-G."

            Not all "funk" is a fungus. Which is why different treatments work on different horses.
            Originally posted by EquineImagined
            My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


            • #7
              I had a mare with a NASTY case of scratches....it was oozy and turning green/foul smelling...NOT good. After trying many, many tried and true recipes which failed to help. I bought a generic diaper cream that has lavender oil and 40% zinc oxide, 'melted' 2 SMZ tabs into a paste and mixed it with the diaper cream. I slathered it on thick, put a dry cotton/vetrap bandage over top to keep the area clean and prayed for the best. Wouldn't you know, a week later nearly all signs of scratches gone, no more oozing, just nice light pink skin with hair starting to grow back.

              I did this daily...don't just leave the same wrap on for the whole week! Think that might be an obvious one, but after I re-read my post seemed like it could be taken that way. I would likely try spraying vetricyn on it before applying this mixture, I do believe that would have an added benefit.

              And for Perfect Pony, scratches is not just a catch all term for all types of pastern dermatitis. It is generally from a fungus that grows in the grass and horses with white legs are far more prone to it (ie: photosensitive, pink skin)

              You see it a LOT here, in KY. It can go from looking easily managable to very severe quickly if not promptly addressed. While biopsies/lab work and diagnosis have their place I do not believe that every single case needs to be looked at by a vet, and certainly trying a few home remedies is worth it before calling in the big guns. I'm not saying that in this particular case it isn't warranted...if the horse is in such pain obviously something has to happen. I would still try something soothing and topical...Iodine wash is a major no no when dealing with scratches...it is far too irritating to the sensitive skin. In this case I'd sedate and just apply the mixture for the first day, by the following day it is very likely that it will be much less sensitive to touch and you'd be able to cleanse the area with a non-soap based wash...don't pull off the scabs they'll come off on their own and usually quickly with the right protocol.

              Is he being given bute or banamine for the inflammation/pain? Is the area hot and inflammed? Does your horse live out or in a stall?
              Last edited by JumpinBeans81; Nov. 5, 2011, 05:05 PM. Reason: clarification


              • Original Poster

                Thanks, all. I should also mention that he's extremely painful, and won't tolerate me wrapping him. Barely tolerates me hosing it (picks his hind foot up as high as his head & will kick out), let alone applying any meds to it. I'm going to ask a couple of other vets @ the sodium iodide thing before going that route. Kinda scares me to inject him with something like that without any information!
                Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe


                • #9
                  Equiderma works very well. I didn't know about this until someone I highly respect told me they use it with great success.
                  "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."


                  • #10
                    I cannot believe all these threads turn into the same thing <sigh>.

                    Please people "scratches" is not necessarily a diagnosis. It's a catch all turm for pastern dermatitis. Pastern dermatitis is also not one thing, it could be all sorts of things. The worst thing you can do to a horse that has "scratches" that is swollen, painful, or getting worse/does not seem to be responding to treatment is mess about willy-nilly treating it with random treatments you get over the internet.

                    To the OP, do you have any pictures of what is actually going on?

                    Scratches can be caused by many different things. Unless you know 1. what the cause is and 2. what exactly is going on (is it infected? has it triggered and immune response?) then you simply do not know how to treat it correctly.

                    To the OP, I have never heard of sodium iodide being used. Has the doctor actually done any blood work or taken a biopsy? When my case years ago finally spiraled out of control I went to the dermatology department at Davis. They did bloodwork and a biopsy and felt it was a photosensitivity reaction that caused it, and my horse had a staph infection as well as vasculitis. It was ultimately treated with oral and topical steroids, antibiotics and pentoxifylline.

                    Here is a really good horse report on equine dermatology

                    I recommend getting an actual diagnosis of what is going on. If your vet cannot do that, then find another one.
                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                    • Original Poster

                      Perfect Pony - I don't have photos yet. But I have consulted with 3 different vets (only 1 has seen it, and said 'definately 'scratches'). A fungassay done on it didn't show any growth (so, might not be fungal, but poss. bacterial or viral). Another vet I talked w/ about the sodium Iodide said he used to use it for such cases, as it's supposedly a fungicide. I'm not treating this 'willy-nilly' with treatments I've found on the internet - I was simply asking about other people's experience with this particular treatment (recommended by a vet), so that I could be better educated about something which the vet wasn't able to explain fully.

                      As far as the definitive diagnosis goes - due to the unusual amount of rain/snow we've had on the east coast, the probability of this condition being caused by a moisture- issue is much higher than the chance that it's caused by a photosensitivity issue.
                      Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe


                      • #12
                        Flipper, I was not talking about you, I was referring to the multitude of typical posts from people claiming they KNOW what it is without seeing it, and recommending a bunch of random treatments.

                        Whether or not it was caused by photo-sensitivity or not, it can still start an immune system reaction that needs to be treated.
                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                        • #13
                          Please get off your high horse Perfect Pony. Thanks. Scratches is a diagnosis when given to you BY A VET. I'm sorry about what happened to your horse but you don't have to take it out on the rest of us who have sucessfully treated a case of scratches using the above mentioned "random treatments". And by the way, those "random treatments" were given to me by my vets who are very highly respected throught the country--actually, throughout the world. Best of luck with your horse Flipper, I'm done.
                          Originally posted by EquineImagined
                          My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Herbie19 View Post
                            Please get off your high horse Perfect Pony. Thanks. Scratches is a diagnosis when given to you BY A VET.
                            Please see page 7 of this document

                            On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                            • #15
                              Op, talk to your vet about doing a few days of dexamethazone. I have had it recommended by multiple vets in the past when dealing with severe cases like you describe. I've been told the inflammatory response can become so strong that they have (and I now have) seen horses fully recover with only the steroids because the skin get the chance to heal. I'm not saying you should do that but it would be worth a talk with you vet as an additional treatment.

                              I have also had extremely good luck with the cow product Today. Ive dried up fairly bad scratches in 3-4 days with 1-2 applications. It is an antibiotic cream so will only work if the right bacteria is the cause. You will know in 24-48 hours if it is going to take carebof it. Available from tractor supply for around $2.


                              • #16
                                I had a draft mare with chronic scratches complete with scabs, ooze and swelling. I had two different vets take a look and culture. Just scratches they said. There are tons of remedies they said. I put the mare on a double dose of pure vitamin c and wouldn't you know it, they cleared up. She is on the regular dose for maintanance and always will be.


                                • #17
                                  always had good luck with desitin ointment


                                  • #18
                                    When a horse at the barn I was managing got it, the bet gave us Ketochlor, Animax, and SMZ. He has scratches so bad he was lame. The Ketochlor loosened the scabs and then helped heal them, and when you would rinse it off all the scabs would be gone, and you would apply the Animax when the area dried. SMZ's were 30 a day. The scratches were gone in a week.

                                    I also have Ketochlor and Animax with me all the time now Those things work wonders.