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Abrasion turning into "scratches" WWYD?

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  • Abrasion turning into "scratches" WWYD?

    The horse in question had an abrasion on inner hind pastern (which I don't think is a typical spot for scatches), possibly injured self with opposite hind hoof in turnout, it did not heal quickly and the wound now looks like what I would call "scratches". It is weepy and inflammed looking. Lower leg (up to fetlock) is somewhat swollen.

    Horse is now on antibiotics as it clearly looks infected. Wound is being cleaned daily with betadine.

    Question #1: Can a horse develop "scratches" in a previously innocuous abrasion?
    Question #2: What sort of topical ointment would you apply? My inclination is something drying as it is weepy but I would like to hear what others would use.


  • #2
    Oh boy, that's how my horse's scratches started, and I ended up in a very long, and painful battle to get it cleared up. One day I noticed a teenie little scuff on the pastern, with a bit of ooze coming out of it. I washed it up and put some corona or something on it, didn't think anything of it. (thought she just dinged herself.) Within a few days, it doubled in size. Within a month, it consumed her whole pastern, half of her coronary band, and the fetlock.

    The vet put her on SMZs, said to do the typical betadine scrubs, nolvasan, corona, wrapping, soaking in epsom salt water, etc. Well, it just kept getting worse. Bute helped take some of the pain and swelling down, but during the worst of it, she was swelled like a fence post all the way to the hock.

    The only thing that helped was Panalog ointment. You have to get a script for it, but it's cheap and it WORKED great!

    Also I think Tea-Pro is a wonderful spray. My dog had some proud flesh and it dried it up within just a few applications. They say its great for scratches too. http://www.healing-tree.com/Tea-ProEquine.html My stallion has extremely thin, sensitive skin. You think about putting a halter on him, and his hair falls out. I've been massaging this Tea-Pro spray into the little hairless spots, and the hair has been growing back very quickly. I also used it on a cut on one of the mare's hind legs, after the typical corona, bandaging, and neosporin was not helping. I bandaged it one night with a gauze pad soaked in Tea-Pro, and by the next morning, the edges of the cut had closed, and the redness and swelling were gone.

    Did the vet do a skin scraping to see what the bug is that's infecting the wound?


    • Original Poster

      Vet seeing him today, but I kind of doubt he will do scraping. Ironically, Tea-Pro is what I have been putting on it, I like what it has been doing so far. Another opinion is that a salve type of ointment is better because it keeps the skin from drying and cracking.

      So I was wondering if the general consensus is "keep it dry" or "keep it moist". I have been in the "keep it dry" camp so far but if more people have success with the "keep it moist" treatment option I can be flexible.


      • #4
        I used to use Desitin on scratches. Clean well with betadine, dry thoroughly and slather on the Desitin.


        • #5
          Keeping it moist was significantly better than encouraging it to dry out, in my experience. The horse turned into a beast when it got dry and cracked.

          The best luck I had was smearing it in a thin layer of panalog (very cheap through the vet), then wrapping in a light layer of gauze, then a polo wrap. 12 hours in the wrap, and then the swelling would be gone, the skin would be soft and pliable, and the scabs and ooze would just sort of slough off, revealing healthy skin underneath. Panalog was the only thing that cleared it up, after months of trying everything else under the sun.

          That was before I discovered Tea-Pro though, so I didn't use it on her for the scratches.

          I also did corona, desitin, neosporin, gold bond powder, etc., none of that did any good. If anything, it just kept getting worse.


          • #6
            This happened to my guy and it took about 6 mos. for it to completely go appear and not keep reappearing, despite a huge amount of injectable and oral antibiotics to treat the cellulitis. After 6 weeks of this it was clearly not going to resolve and we did the following:

            The ointment that was amazing was 10cc Dexamethasone mixed with a jar of Silver Sulfadiazene (antiobiotic ointment, frequently used for burn victims. It promotes healing.) This was to just get rid of the wounds.

            He also went on a feed through treatment that consisted of 2 oz. colloidal silver 2x per day, a probiotic, 1 oz of burdock root powder, 1/2 oz. of MSM, and 1/2 oz of lysine. This was to build up his immune system to beat the infection that kept causing the flare ups.

            Good luck. As for management, the vet recommended turnout as much as possible in a clean area (not necessarily dry, but just so he wasn't standing in mud or filth). If it was really muddy out, he would go in the indoor. Light riding because the circulation helps move the fluid out of the leg. Lots of cold hosing when it would swell, and then pat dry the pastern area where the scratches were.


            • #7
              In my horse's case, there was never turnout in a filthy area. Her stall was cleaned daily and dry shavings put down, our farm is sand and the mares have a pile where they poop, and that's it. They go there, use the bathroom, then leave. There was no mud or deep anything. The vet told me that scratches usually occurs due to a stressed immune system that isn't functioning at peak. It turned out that my horse had ulcers at the same time, and I think she was stressed and that's why it happened.


              Interesting, if you read this testimonial page http://www.healing-tree.com/ConsumerReviews.html they have a handfull on there about the Tea-products and scratches.


              • #8
                This happened with my gelding as well. He ended up with ulcerations/sores on all 3 of his white legs. After trying several different treatments (topical abx, steroids, desitin, etc.) without any success, we took several biopsies. The results came back as leukocytoclastic vasculitis. We sent the path report to a veterinary dermatologist and the recommendation was to protect the exposed white from sunlight and try oral steroids. She also suggested that we could try just the protection first and see how that worked before the steroids. I bought Kensington fly boots and have had those on him for about 2 months now (24/7) and the legs are almost entirely cleared up. We never had to use oral steroids. Im really glad we did the biopsy. Otherwise im afraid we'd still be trying different "remedies" without success. There are many different causes of scratches. If you find that he isnt getting better, you could consider biopsy for further diagnosis and treatment.

                Here are some pictures of his legs the day after the biopsy...his legs are damp b/c we washed them to take the pictures. We sent those along with the path report to the dermatologist.

                Last edited by MelShiloh; Aug. 26, 2009, 07:01 PM. Reason: adding pictures


                • Original Poster

                  Interesting responses. What is odd is that the farm where this horse lives (horse belongs to a friend of mine) is on sandy soil, not muddy, clean stalls and this horse seemed to just have a very straight forward abrasion on his inside pastern then "poof" ...it looked like scratches. I have never seen that happen before, I have seen scratches on the heels and backs of pasterns but never like this. Sounds like it is not uncommon.


                  • #10
                    I don't have any advice other than I am glad you posted b/c I am dealing with the same issue. He had an abrasion that was on the outside of his leg above the fetlock. It started healing and then suddenly it was like scratches around the entire edge of the abrasion - and it's now on all three white legs. Every time he gets a ding, it turns into scratches, and he's extremely sensitive. I have been using desitin, neosporine, and a cortizone cream, and it seems to get better, and then it will re-appear. I have a call into my vet to talk about something for my other horse, so I am going to ask him what he thinks I should do.


                    • #11
                      I doubt you are dealing with scratches, most likely an infection or vasculitis or a combination of both. Do a search on vasculitis.
                      Last edited by Perfect Pony; Aug. 26, 2009, 07:29 PM.
                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mozart View Post
                        The horse in question had an abrasion on inner hind pastern (which I don't think is a typical spot for scatches), possibly injured self with opposite hind hoof in turnout, it did not heal quickly and the wound now looks like what I would call "scratches". It is weepy and inflammed looking. Lower leg (up to fetlock) is somewhat swollen.

                        Horse is now on antibiotics as it clearly looks infected. Wound is being cleaned daily with betadine.

                        Question #1: Can a horse develop "scratches" in a previously innocuous abrasion?
                        Question #2: What sort of topical ointment would you apply? My inclination is something drying as it is weepy but I would like to hear what others would use.

                        sounds more like cracked heals

                        look here http://www.poolhousevets.co.uk/equine_crackedheel.html

                        and here http://www.equi-therapy.net/equi-the...ud-fever.shtml
                        also look here www.camrosa.co.uk as a treatment source all info down side bar under horses


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                          I doubt you are dealing with scratches, most likely and infect or vasculitis or a combination of both. Do a search on vasculitis.
                          Ditto on researching those threads. Also check out what worked for mine that had pemphigus. Not that I think your horse has a severe autoimmune condition exactly, but the topical care techniques for both pemphigus and vasculitis are similar.

                          FWIW, it doesn't sound like scratches. Scratches is simple to clear up. Primary/secondary bacterial infections are not easy to clear up, hence owners get frustrated and do the number one sin: use harsh treatments. No scrubbing, no harsh treatments of any kind. Shockingly, keeping my guy's pemphigus foot wrapped with silver sulfadiazine (sp?) for up to a week at a time is what worked. I'd have NEVER left a leg wrapped that long if it weren't for the vet who basically forbid me to unwrap it. I'm not advising for you to wrap and walk away, but do ask your vet to seek out an equine dermatologist and proceed from there. That saved mine.

                          Good luck!
                          RIP Bo, the real Appassionato