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Extreme scratches

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  • Extreme scratches

    Two part question:

    1) Has anyone dealt with/seen a horse with scratches so extreme that they went as high as the rump? horse is a tobiano, and had scratches up past its hocks and above its tail head (as well as ankles). Was tested as scratches. horse was well taken care of, so not a case of neglect.

    2) Would this raise concerns for you if you were looking into buying?
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2

    Certainly I would be very leery of buying this horse until and unless it cleared up, and probably would pass unless the horse was special.

    Skin diseases can be very frustrating to deal with.

    "Was tested as scratches." I'm not sure what that means. Usually they'd come back with it being a specific organism or condition - usually 'scratches' is a catch-all for lots of possible issues IME.

    On a tobiano, I'd suspect a photosensitivity.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    • #3
      If they cultured it, did they not then treat it? Or was it cleared up already and they're just wanting you to know?

      Either way, I'd want to know why it's happening, how often it has happened, how it's been treated, any preventive measures that were/were not effective. Basically, be very very careful. It may seem superficial but skin infections can suggest immune deficiencies, allergies, and they can easily make the horse lame while being really tough to treat.


      • #4
        I remember a draft horse in the stall next to mine having to be euthanized at a well regarded veterinary hospital because of scratches. I have never thought of it as "just scratches" ever again!
        "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


        • #5
          After dealing with bad scratches for about 3 years (yes, it finally cleared up), I would NEVER want to buy a horse with it (in a severe form).

          If you are looking at this horse, move on. Unless you can dedicate your life to clearing it up its really not worth it!


          • #6
            My mare was very susceptible to scratches and during the time I had her a few times they went from very mild scratches to lymphangitis in no time flat. The scratches were an ongoing battle and a royal PITA and I would not knowingly go there again unless someone was offering me something exceptional- like a free, sound, young, 4 star horse that could be ridden by an ammie
            There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


            • #7
              Re Drafts - they are very prone to this - Google the horror stories for pictures and treatments - will need to be treated internally I think at this stage.
              I'd never buy such a horse after hearing stories of one my friend has tried to help.
              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


              • #8
                I am of the opinion that the condition that hits light horses and one that hits drafts are entirely different issues. I would not be overly concerned about a neglected light horse with a skin issue like this and I'd hold up high hopes that it would be easily treatable. The fact that the horse is not coming from neglect- makes me worried that he's got a problem I wouldn't want to take on.

                I have never heard of a draft horse getting scratches further up the leg than about the chestnut.

                Like the other person said- Scratches isn't a diagnosis- it's a catch all.


                • Original Poster

                  They said they sent blood and samples to some lab in the US to get the diagnosis. It was mostly cleared, just some scabs on all ankles, and on one side on the gaskin.

                  Horse was not neglected and was at a higher end stable. Seemed odd to get in winter though.

                  I think we are going to pass as there were a few question marks raised. Cute horse though.
                  Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                  • #10
                    I have a pinto pony who was getting scratches pretty bad every summer, and one summer on all 4 legs above the knees/hocks. What worked for me:

                    No washing, don't get the affected area wet.
                    Rubbing either panalog or my own cream (diaper rash ointment, triple antibacterial ointment and antifungal cream) into the affected areas regularly.
                    Added ground flax seed to the diet - 1 cup a day.

                    You have to break the wet/dry cycle as this really aggravates the condition. The flax will help control the condition, but it is something that works over time. Since starting the pony on ground flax, I have only had a few minor tiny patches of scabs, and no major breakouts.
                    Man plans. God laughs.


                    • Original Poster

                      Draft cross, so worried it may be signs of a bigger issue. Decided to pass!
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        Good idea. Good luck in your search.


                        • #13
                          I have a horse that has chronic scratches but he has immune issues. I would never willingly buy one that has had a severe case like my guy, or that travels that high up the legs like you posted.

                          I'm not sure how a blood test would show anything, I've had my horses "scratches" biopsied, they took actual sample from the affected area, and it came back non-conclusive.

                          I've treated with antibiotics, steriods, etc, and nothing works consistently.

                          The best solution for him has to keep the area wrapped...and out of sun. My current case has been on-going for the last 9 months.

                          It's very frustrating. So I would definitely pass on this horse. But just my opinion from my experience.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Flash44 View Post
                            I have a pinto pony who was getting scratches pretty bad every summer, and one summer on all 4 legs above the knees/hocks. What worked for me:

                            No washing, don't get the affected area wet.
                            Rubbing either panalog or my own cream (diaper rash ointment, triple antibacterial ointment and antifungal cream) into the affected areas regularly.
                            Added ground flax seed to the diet - 1 cup a day.

                            You have to break the wet/dry cycle as this really aggravates the condition. The flax will help control the condition, but it is something that works over time. Since starting the pony on ground flax, I have only had a few minor tiny patches of scabs, and no major breakouts.
                            I also had a mare with white socks and she got scratches pretty bad every year, even in dry fields. I added flax to her diet last spring, and haven't had an issue other than a few tiny scabs since. And those can be softened up with a cream as described above, adn then gently brushed off.
                            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                            • #15
                              OP, just saw that you passed, probably a good idea! After having dealt with scratches pretty bad on the above mentioned mare, I would never knowingly buy a horse that had an issue with it.
                              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                              • #16
                                Good you decided to pass. It is a sign of a compromised immune system. May be fixable but with so many nice horses available why start with a handicap? Good luck in your search.