BE SMART ABOUT THE SUN

EQUUS - - Eq Hands On -

a. b. c. d. For the an­swer, turn to page 25. not With the re­turn of sunny weather, you’ll want to pro­tect your skin from dam­ag­ing ul­travi­o­let (UV) rays. Don’t for­get to do the same for your horse, es­pe­cially if he has pink skin with sparse hair cov­er­ing---on the muz­zle and around the eyes, for ex­am­ple. Sun­burn would not only make your horse un­com­fort­able, it could in­crease his risk of de­vel­op­ing cer­tain can­cers and tu­mors in that area. The most re­li­able sun pro­tec­tion for most of your horse’s face is a fly mask made with UVblock­ing fab­ric. As long as he wears it reg­u­larly, you won’t have to worry about sun­burn around his eyes. Some mod­els even in­cor­po­rate muz­zle flaps to pro­tect pink skin on the nose.

If a mask doesn’t work for your horse, you can use hu­man sun­screen on his vul­ner­a­ble patches of skin. If pos­si­ble, store a tube just out­side his stall so you’ll be less likely to for­get to ap­ply it when you turn him out. Be care­ful, how­ever, to avoid get­ting sun­screen in his eyes, which can be painful.

An­other op­tion is a zinc ox­ide cream, such as De­sitin. Be­cause these oint­ments are much thicker than con­ven­tional sun­screens, they are less likely to be rubbed off as a horse grazes. And, be­cause of their white color, it’s easy to see when they have worn off and need to be reap­plied. The down­side is zinc ox­ide oint­ments can be greasy and messy.

Re­mem­ber that sun­burn af­fects only hair­less or near-hair­less ar­eas of your horse. If an area of skin fully cov­ered by white coat sud­denly be­comes ten­der, blis­ters or peels, your horse may be suf­fer­ing from pho­to­sen­si­ti­za­tion. This con­di­tion is much more se­ri­ous than sun­burn and re­quires vet­eri­nary at­ten­tion.

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