How to deal with the most com­monly seen skin con­di­tions

Guard your horse’s outer layer this win­ter with our guide to the most com­mon sea­sonal skin con­di­tions. Vet Alis­tair Love MRCVS ex­plains the facts

Your Horse (UK) - - Contents -

THE WIN­TER MONTHS ARE NO friend to skin. Not only are we nurs­ing our own chaffed hands and chapped lips, but our horses be­come more sus­cep­ti­ble to a range of skin-re­lated com­plaints. The cold, damp weather makes your horse’s warm body an at­trac­tive breed­ing ground for bugs, while more reg­u­lar rug­ging, sta­ble time and clip­ping also take their toll on the largest or­gan of the body.

Lice

What are they? Lice are an in­cred­i­bly com­mon skin par­a­site — the most pro­lific be­ing Da­ma­linia equi, a chew­ing louse, and Hae­matopi­nus, a suck­ing louse. If you weren’t feel­ing queasy enough al­ready, equine lice will also bite peo­ple. How­ever, they can’t sur­vive off the horse for long. Lice are eas­ily trans­mit­ted from horse to horse, pre­fer­ring to lay eggs on long hair. High tem­per­a­tures af­fect the louse’s abil­ity to breed, which means win­ter is the per­fect time for them to thrive and hop eas­ily from sta­bled horse to horse. How to spot them: Lice can some­times be seen with the naked eye, but it’s the horse’s re­ac­tion that will be most no­tice­able. Af­fected equines will rub the mane and tail, chew their flanks and may also rub their head and poll. In some cases, though, a horse may not ap­pear par­tic­u­larly both­ered, de­spite car­ry­ing lice. Pre­ven­tion/treat­ment: Louse pow­ders can be used pe­ri­od­i­cally as a re­pel­lent, but don’t work well for treat­ment pur­poses. Once a horse is in­fested, in­sec­ti­ci­dal sham­poos are most ef­fec­tive. Treat­ments need to be ap­plied to the whole coat and car­ried out ev­ery seven to 14 days for a min­i­mum of one month.

PHOTO: BAUER LI­BRARY

Ap­ply­ing a bar­rier cream can help pre­vent mud fever

C I N I L C E N I U Q E E S U O H L O O P : O T O H P

Lice b ite h orses and peo­ple JAN­UARY 2019

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