If the Skin Itches and Tingles - Skin Diseases in Horses

The skin is the largest organ in humans and animals, due to the large surface, it is also particularly sensitive to diseases and external environmental influences.

I. The Summer Eczema

The fur is a reflection of the well-being of an animal, for example, a blunt, dull coat is an indication of discomfort. Skin diseases usually occur in a cause-and-effect complex. Meaning, the skin shows only symptoms of other diseases, therefore, skin treatments usually only alleviated the symptoms but not the cause.

Especially skin problems are a great burden for the affected horse because they occur in the most common cases with enormous itching. The horse scrubs and pushes, the skin becomes cracked and brittle. As a result, bacteria can penetrate and the skin, these spots become inflamed, which further intensifies the itching. A long-lasting cycle that not only bothers the horse, but also the owner: High maintenance and high costs for only moderate improvements. Especially the summer eczema is a disease dreaded by horse owners, which no longer concerns only special breeds.

The summer eczema is a hypersensitivity to the bites of special mosquito species. The reason for this is the protein components contained in mosquito saliva, to which horses are allergic. But even a wrong or improper diet can be the cause of skin problems, especially when feeding supplements, trace elements, or minerals, the need of those should be exactly determined by a veterinarian.

- Symptoms

The affected horses show strong itching and numerous chafe marks, especially around the base of the tail or mane as well as on the withers or on the croup. The spots are usually bald, sore and cracked. In the initial stage, even small, bald areas of the mane can be indicative for eczema.

- A remedy for the Horse

Allergic reactions tend to become more intense over time and without therapy when the skin is confronted with the proteins of the insect saliva. As a first remedy and relief, you should keep your horse inside till noon and bring it back inside in the afternoon - mosquitoes and other insects are most active during the morning and evening. The grazing land should be as far away as possible from ponds or wetlands. Eczema blankets, which virtually completely shield the horse from the outside, relieve the suffering of the horse. They should have bright colors and should be so tight that it is impossible for insects to get through. Even though these blankets, including the neck and the head section, look frightening at first, they represent the most sensible prophylaxis and should be worn during a trip, because the renewed contact with the allergy trigger brings immediate symptoms. In less serious cases, insect repellent sprays can also help. But most of them only last a few hours and who has the time to spray his horse every three hours.

As with all diseases: Act before it gets worse.

- Treatment

Depending on how bad the eczema already is, the horses should be treated externally and internally. A particularly good alternative to conventional medicine for eczema patients is homeopathy.

Cortisone – Summer eczema is a chronic disease that can only be contained. Cortisone is therefore advisable only in acute emergencies, as it brings immediate relief of the symptoms, but it is harmful over a longer period.

Zinc – Zinc is important for the intact function of the skin. If the skin is already inflamed through an eczema, the zinc requirement of the horse increases and should be fed accordingly - of course only after the consultation with your veterinarian.

Protein Reduction – Aditional protein intake only burdens the horse and the skin metabolism even more. Therefore feed less protein-containing food and hourly or lean pastures.

Effective Microorganisms – 'The intestine is the cradle of health', so above all, an intact intestinal flora should be guaranteed. Effective microorganisms can even be applied to the corresponding skin areas and thus can positively influence the healing process.

Schuessler Salts - The exact quantities and the duration of the input should be discussed in advance with a specialist pharmacist, naturopath or veterinarian.

For Severe Itching No. 7

For General Skin Problems No. 8

For Allergic Reactions No. 4

Globules – Eczema patients react, in addition to the conventional medical treatment options, very good to homeopathy and globules.

Sulfur (D6): Severe Scouring, Flaky, Cracked Skin, Itching

Zincum Metallicum (D6): Severe itching

Apis (D6): Itching with Swelling, Allergy to Insect Bites

Arsenicum Album (D12): Nettle-like Rash

Graphites (D6): Dry Eczema

Especially useful as a cooling tincture.

Cooling and Herbs – Warm, humid weather usually exacerbates the skin reaction and itching. Nevertheless, in order to give the horse relief on hot days, cold water can be applied to the affected areas. Cooling compresses also relieve the itching. Likewise, a cooled herb mixture of chamomile or parsley can have a calming effect and positively influence the healing of the affected skin.

Benzyl Benzoate – Benzyl benzoate is used in human medicine for scabies and other mite diseases. By chance, the itch-calming effect was discovered. Benzyl benzoate only soothes the symptoms. To use this an emulsion is mixed: Commercial body lotions can be used (the Aldi body lotion for dry skin has proven effective). The benzyl benzoate is now added with a 20-25% share. The proportion depends on the intensity of the rash and how well the horse tolerates the emulsion (first test on a small area of the skin). To achieve an even better caring effect, a part of the body lotion may be replaced by oil (e.g., Citronella).

Finished emulsions are available, for example, Equimyl Emulsion, which is doping-free and without cortisone, soothes the itching and helps the irritated skin to regenerate.

- First Aid for Summer Eczema

  • Eczema blanket with neck and head section
  • Avoid major flight times of insects
  • Do not put horses near water
  • Relieve itching with cold water or lotions
  • Treat wound skin with wound and healing ointment
  • Prophylaxis

Every horse owner should be aware that the summer eczema is a chronic disease and can therefore always return. Even if the affected horse shows no symptoms for one summer, the prophylactic measures should be continued. It would be a great pity for the newly regrown mane ...