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Dealing with flaking and peeling skin caused by bug spray

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  • Dealing with flaking and peeling skin caused by bug spray

    I live on the Outer Banks of NC. I primarlily use Pyranha bug spay or Wipe (wipe on repellant) on my horses but I have used everything on the market at one time or another. They all seem to cause slight peeling or flaking on my horses. My father-in-law, a vet, says that it is caused when the bug spay irritates the very top layer of the skin. Has anyone had the same issue and if so have you found anything which does not cause such a reaction?

  • #2
    I know exactly what you mean. I've seen some cases where the skin even blisters. I've switched to all-natural sprays and use fly sheets and fly masks whenever possible. Much gentler on the skin. Good luck!


    • #3
      If theyre having a reaction, dont use fly spray. It really only lasts 10 minutes, and makes the owner feel better. Rather try fly masks, boots and sheets. Much more effective if you need to use something. For sensitive spots (under the girth area, groin, etc) I just swipe on some swat. It lasts for about 3 days and seems to keep away biting flies, ticks etc. Fly spray is not worth a reaction.
      Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
      White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

      Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


      • #4
        My thin skinned chestnut gelding is reactive like that to repeat applications of fly spray, around here we call it skin scurf, but that may or may not be the real term for it.

        As the others, I use fly sheets & masks instead of spraying chemicals. I haven't found any of the natural products to be effective enough to warrant the cost, and anything that is effective causes him to shed skin.

        When I bathe him, I rinse him with white vinegar and it seems to help a bit at least for a little while.

        Around the sheath, ears and belly area I do use calm coat, it seems to work quite well.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        • #5
          The oil based sprays will scald them if the hair gets soaked never soak with the oil based sprays. Thats what the peeling skin is from scalding only a light mist is needed with oil based sprays. I keep my horse in the barn when bugs are bad my barn is kept bug free. The only time i ever spray is when we ride then after we hose them off. I also use fly sheets and masks that does help the fly sheets i have cover the necks plus have a belly band.


          • #6
            Like sassy45, I've seen more skin problems with the oil-based sprays than the water based ones. One of my geldings had serious problems with skin-so-soft because it was so oily, but I don't recall anything else that bothered him nearly as much.

            Generally I also only spray to ride, not for turnout, and I rinse my horse off as soon as I'm done.

            If the bugs are really bad, I'll apply a bentonite clay poultice to their legs, which actually stays on as a physical barrier for longer than the sprays work, ime.
            "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
            -Edward Hoagland


            • #7
              Yes, ton's of horses have a sensitivity to mineral oil (petroleum) and their skin will flake and itch from it. This includes the ever popular Skin So soft. Just switch to a water based fly spray.

              I've made my own herbal fly sprays and used Soy Bean oil in them which doesn't seem to bother my sensitive skinned horse. Soy oil has some repellent properties toward mosquitos and knats, in case you wonder why I would add it to a spray.



              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the input y'all. I do use fly sheets and masks along with fly predators and feed-thru fly control but when I ride they need some protection. We have never seen the flys and mosquitoes as bad as they were last fall and this spring. My horse friends and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will be able to ride very little this summer if the bugs stay like they are. It is like an Alford Hitchcock movie.