Sweat Wraps

The art of wrapping equine legs and the purpose of sweat wraps.

You will need a quilt, a track bandage wrap, lightweight plastic wrap, a sweating agent and duct tape.

Leg wrapping can sometimes be a scary task: fear of doing something wrong and causing the horse injury in the process, is a valid concern. Shoddy wrapping or improper use of certain techniques can cause serious problems for your horse. Add that to the number of types of leg wraps there are and the chore seems daunting.

With experience in the jumping, polo, cow horse and reining industries, one thing I am often asked to do is wrap legs. And if the person isn’t requesting that I actually wrap their horses’ legs for them, they’re likely asking questions regarding the reasons why certain bandages are used or how to employ specific techniques. Years of witnessing the strains of horse activity (before and after) has helped me appreciate the art of wrapping legs. It has become a very valuable skill.

In this blog entry, let’s concentrate on sweat wraps – these are beneficial as an aid in reducing fluid build-up in horse’s legs. On occasion, I have used sweat wraps for circumstances that include small wounds, however in such an instance, sometimes a vet needs to be consulted first.

Sweat wraps are helpful if your horse has suffered a sprain, splint or traumatic injury, or is required to be on stall rest for an extended period of time. Inflammation and swelling can damage tissues and cause pain: sweat wraps – which create heat to increase blood flow and provide support – may be useful for reducing fluid build-up in the legs.

Start with a clean, dry leg.

In a sweat bandage, a “sweating agent” is applied to the leg, then cover with plastic wrap and bandaged with a stable/standing wrap. There are various preparations that can be used to sweat legs, however my preferences are limited to DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) and Nitrofurazone ointment. DMSO is a very powerful agent because it penetrates the horse’s skin quickly and can take with it, other substances such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatories. DMSO should only be used with the advice of a veterinarian. Always wear gloves when applying DMSO!

Then once the sweating preparation is applied liberally to the part of the leg requiring bandaging, wrap a lightweight kitchen plastic wrap around the sweating agent. Ensure the plastic layers are as smooth as possible (no wrinkles). Only a couple layers are necessary, enough to cover up the furazone or DMSO.

Begin to wrap the padded quilt of your stable wrap overtop of the plastic wrap. Start the quilt edge at the back of the cannon bone and wrap counter-clockwise for left legs, clockwise for right legs.

Ensure there are no wrinkles and that the quilt lies flat against the leg.


Next, grab your track bandage (usually a cotton or knitted poly-wrap that does not allow for much “stretch,” as opposed to a polo wrap). I prefer to use 12-foot bandages for smaller horses (smaller cannon bones) and 15-foot track bandages for larger horses.

I prefer to start the track bandage at the back of the cannon bone as well (the same place at which the quilt was started.) I also start at the top of the leg, just underneath the knee by putting the end of the track bandage underneath the open end of the quilt wrap.


Then, using even pressure, wrap down the leg by overlapping the track bandage approximately half of its width over itself. If more pressure must be applied as I am wrapping, I will apply it only at the back of the cannon bone.

Once at the fetlock, ensure to wrap your track bandage in a “Figure 8” or sling formation, cupping the back of the horse’s fetlock as you do. There should be a slight “V” in the front of your bandage.

Proceed to wrap back up the leg, taking great care to leave at least 0.5-1 inch of quilt exposed at the top and bottom of the wrap. And ensure only one wrap is made at the top of the wrap. Too many wraps (in an effort to finish the track bandage and get to the velcro) can cause uneven and unwanted tension at the top of the leg. Honestly, if you get to the top of the wrap and have too much track bandage left over, it’s best to start over.

I will admit, the wrap pictured above isn’t perfectly even as it proceeds back upwards, but it will do. Apply a thin layer of duct tape around your velcro fastening to hold the wrap in place and Voila!

WORDS OF CAUTION:

1. DMSO – is non-toxic by itself, but may become dangerous when mixed with other substances. Dangerous materials / substances can be introduced to the body because of its skin penetrating properties. Birth defects can be a side-effect, as can irritation of the skin in the treated area. Also, some shows have banned the use of DMSO because it can be classified as “performance enhancing.”
2. Furacin is thought to be a carcinogenic. Wear gloves when applying it as well.
3. Do not leave wraps on for more than 12 hours (unless advised to do so by a vet).
4. If you are utilizing sweat wraps, it’s wise to give the horse a “rest” period in between sweating applications. For instance, 12 hours with sweat wraps, 12 hours without. Even if you must put stable wraps on your horse during the rest period, don’t use the sweating compound during this time.
5. If the horse shows skin irritation to the sweating agent, discontinue its use.
6. Check the bandage often, to ensure it hasn’t slipped down or become unwound. Make certain the wrap cannot cut off circulation, create sores or compress tendons.

Equine Conjunctivitis

This is Petey. He’s my new six-year-old gelding, and we’re going cutting this year! But, obviously, that’s not what this post is about.

Petey had a little problem with runny eyes earlier this spring. That is, the normally clear discharge turned mucoid, and he was clearly sensitive in the area.

When cleansing them daily at the barn and applying a little eye ointment didn’t appear to clear them up, I decided to take him to the equine health experts at Moore & Co.

A discharge from both eyes, swollen eyelids, and red eyes, as Petey was presenting, suggests goopy eyes, or as Dr. Shawn Mattson enlightened me – equine conjunctivitis – a common condition for horses.

Some cases may begin as an allergy – with horses being affected by certain pollens or dusts, or simply, the eyes have been party one too many times to the wind and dust storms which are regular features of our environment here on the prairie. Some cases have an element of infection involved which turns the clear fluids of the normal eye into thicker, more mucoid discharges or even into pus.

How Petey contracted equine conjunctivitis I can’t say for sure. But, that he had contracted it, was clear and easily diagnosed by Dr. Mattson and his able technicians at Moore & Co.

In this case, the solution would be a flushing of the tear ducts. This would be accomplished via the nasolacrimal duct, which begins in the nostrils and runs up to the tear ducts.

As this isn’t the most comfortable of procedures, Dr. Mattson administered some sedative to Petey to help him relax. Then, we proceeded.

How our able techs found that teensy pin-hole entrance to the duct, I have no idea, but they did and soon after, inserted a long, thin tube partially into it . . .

. . . and simply squirted up a solution of saline.

As you can see from this photo, the saline solution inserted in point A, reached point B in a second and flowed out copiously, just as it should, thereby unblocking the ducts.

Mission accomplished and we were on our way.

Dr. Mattson also sent me home with an eye ointment to apply once a day to Petey’s eyes.

When applying eye ointment on your own be sure to use clean water only to wipe away the muck from the side of the face and avoid cotton wool or soft tissues, which may shed fibres and exacerbate the irritation. Run a teensy ribbon of ointment along the border of the eyelid and as the horse blinks the ointment will get dispensed where it should. Dr. Mattson reminded me to use extremely clean hands, or wear medical gloves, in order to avoid imparting any further bacteria in the area.

Remember, to protect your horse’s eyesight, any discharging or swollen eye issues should be checked by an equine veterinarian if it hasn’t cleared up in 24 hours.

Further Reference: for a step-by-step of applying eye ointment correctly to a horse’s eye, have a look at our Equine Health section in Western Horse Review’s August issue.

Abscess Schm-abscess

If you’re like me, learning of an abscess in your horse’s foot conjures up feelings of happiness and relief inside your head.

Quite honestly, I almost jump for joy when one of our veterinarians diagnoses one of our equines with an abscess. Sure, an hoof abscess means the horse is off for a while and will be unable to continue training and whatnot. But once that abscess ruptures and the sole or the coronet band of the hoof heals, the horse can pretty much go back to normal without any major life altering lameness condition.

Abscesses are a pain in the you-know-what but believe me, there are much worse hoof conditions that a horse could have. So what is a sole abscess, you ask?

Typically, abscesses are caused by a puncture in the sole from a foreign object entering the sensitive structures of the foot and inoculating these areas with bacteria. The bacteria grows and forms a pocket (abscess). Once the abscess has some time to form, the horse may appear lame and careful about how he places his hoof down. Abscesses can occur in the horse’s sole of the foot, adjacent to the frog (which are serious because of the possibility of involving the navicular bursa), at the heel bulb or higher at the coronet band.

This pic shows a relieved abscess at the back of the mare’s heel bulb. She was lame for quite a while but once we figured out the problem and the bacterial pocket relieved itself, the mare was on the mend!

Abscesses are generally found by placing hoof testers on the sole of the sore foot and determining which spots trigger painful responses. Vets are trained to find abscesses, however many farriers are very good at locating these painful lesions too. Through the sole, they look like dark spots and may be warm to the touch but only experienced individuals should ever try to lance an abscess.

More often than not however, the bacterial pocket cannot simply be drained from the hoof with a quick cut and instead must be drawn out of the hoof on its own. In such a case, I have often found the Ol’ Racetrack Remedy of Betadine and sugar to work wonders. Simply clean the sole of the hoof out very carefully with a hoofpick, paying close attention to the grooves of the sulci and then apply a thick poultice of Betadine and sugar (more sugar than Betadine).

Or if you can get your hands on some of this “green goo” as I like to call it, also known as Magna-Poultice from Priority Care 1, you’ll never have to mix sugar and betadine again. Magna-Poultice is an osmotic agent for external application which are essentially, epsom salts in a water soluble base. It even smells nice!


After the poultice is on, apply square gauze to the bottom of the foot, then wrap the entire foot (sole and up to the coronet band) with vetwrap. Using approximately six-inch strips of duct tape (and several of them), make a strong barrier wall on the bottom of the horse’s foot and apply tape upwards until you have reached the coronet band. Ensure you have only taped the bony structure of the hoof and no fleshy part of the lower leg, as this can lead to a lack of blood flow in this area. The duct tape should keep the poultice inside the sole, allowing it to draw out the bacteria of the abscess and prevent any moisture from reaching the infected hoof.


Another great product I have found to help keep the foot wrapped is the Hoofix Abscess Kit. This package comes complete with a boot which means there’s no mess, no duct tape, no resoaking and no wasted time. Check it out at: www.plumshadefarm.com/learn_kit.asp

Soaking the abscessed foot in warm water containing epsom salts is also another great way of drawing the bacteria out. But getting your horse to stand still while in a bucket of water is a totally different deal!

Funding for Horse Feed

Federal aid for your breeding stock horses if you are a PMU breeder.

Just announced on the Horse Industry Association of Alberta’s website is the news that there is aid for horse feed becoming available through federal and provincial governments. According to the post on the HIAA’s site, livestock producers will receive funding to buy feed while damaged pastures recover.

The post states:

“Under the 2010 Pasture Recovery Initiative, livestock producers living in the eligible counties and municipal districts in Central and Northern Alberta and West Central and Northwest Saskatchewan will receive pasture assistance for breeding cattle, as well as assistance for other types of breeding livestock, totaling up to $114 million subject to size of the eligible livestock. It is estimated that there are more than 2.2 million breeding animals in the affected areas.

“The program will be administered in Alberta by Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, and by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in Saskatchewan.”

The funding is available for breeding animals, and because equines are classified as livestock, includes mares and stallions, as long as the mare was bred to produce an offspring in 2010, or is a stallion; was primarily grazed on drought lands in 2009 and; were on hand at January 1, 2010.

In Alberta, the funding is only available for breeding stock equines which are bred solely for the production of meat or pregnant mare urine.

Payment for horses is quoted as $60 per head for horses, which notably is the highest offered for livestock. (Beef cattle and bison are $50/head, elk $25, deer and llama $12.50, down to $10 a head for sheep, goats and alpacas.)

There are forms available at www.afsc.ca and at AFSC district offices within affected areas for Alberta breeders. Saskatchewan breeders should check with Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. The deadline to apply is September 1, 2010.

According to the Horse Industry Association of Alberta, eligible counties include:

Acadia No. 34
Athabasca County
Barrhead County No. 11
Beaver County
Big Horn No. 8
Big Lakes No. 125
Birch Hills County
Bonnyville No. 87
Brazeau County
City of Calgary
Camrose County
Clear Hills County
Clearwater County
City of Edmonton
Fairview No. 136
Flagstaff County
Foothills No. 31
Grande Prairie County No. 1
Greenview No. 16
Kneehill County
Lac La Biche (Lakeland) County
Lac Ste. Anne County
Lacombe County
Lamont County
Leduc County
Lesser Slave River No. 124
Minburn County No. 27
Mountain View County
Northern Lights County
Northern Sunrise County
Opportunity No. 17
Paintearth County No. 18
Parkland County
Peace No. 135
Ponoka County
Provost No. 52
Red Deer County
Rocky View No. 44
Saddle Hills County
Smoky Lake County
Smoky River No. 130
Special Area No. 2
Special Area No. 3
Special Area No. 4
Spirit River No. 133
St. Paul County No. 19
Starland County (and Drumheller)
Stettler County No. 6
Strathcona County (and Elk Island)
Sturgeon County
Thorhold County No. 7
Two Hills County No. 21
Vermilion River County No. 24
Wainwright No. 61
Westlock County
Wetaskiwin County No. 10
Wheatland County
Woodlands County
Yellowhead County

Read the full story at the Horse Industry Association of Alberta’s website www.albertahorseindustry.ca.

Import Restrictions for Horses from Arizona

Due to the reported finding of horses infected with vesicular stomatitis (VS) in Arizona, US, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has asked the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to suspend the issuance or endorsement of export certificates for horses and other equines for all end-uses originating from the state of Arizona.

The imposed restrictions on the import of equidae into Canada from Arizona is effective immediately. The CFIA has confirmed that the import restrictions only apply to live horse, donkey or mule imports and not to equine semen or equine embryo imports.

The USDA has also been asked to certify the following for horses and other equines from all other states as follows: “During the previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have not been in the State of Arizona.”

It is strongly recommended that horse owners refrain from travelling to or transiting through Arizona with their horses. For horse owners who still want to export their horses to Arizona, it is important to note that they cannot bring them back to Canada on the original Canadian export certificate. Instead, it will be necessary that they bring their animals back to Canada with an import permit and a US health certificate containing supplementary certification or move their horses to an alternate state and establish residency in that state for at least 21 days prior to export to Canada. In the case of moving the horse(s) to an alternate state, the horse(s) will be returning to Canada on a US health certificate that includes a statement for non-residency in Arizona during the last 21 days prior to export to Canada (i.e. “During the previous twenty-one (21) days, the animal(s) in this shipment has/have not been in the state of Arizona”).

When supplementary certification is used, it must state that

  • the horse(s) were inspected by a veterinarian within fifteen (15) days preceding the date of importation;
  • The horse(s) have not been on a premises where Vesicular Stomatitis (clinical or serological) has occurred during the 60 days immediately preceding exportation to Canada, nor has this disease occurred on any adjoining premises during the same period of time; and
  • The horses must have tested negative to Vesicular Stomatitis using a cELISA test, during the fifteen (15) days prior to the date of importation into Canada.

It is also important to note that various US states may also prohibit movement into state without permit/certification/testing/post-entry testing. The Canadian horse owner should check state requirements before movement.

Equine piroplasmosis related import restrictions for all equine originating from the states of Texas and New Mexico are also still applicable.

Current import requirements for equidae entering Canada may be found using the CFIA Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) at http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca. To determine specific import requirements for each horse, specific parameters that refer to each horse’s circumstances will need to be entered and customized import requirements will be provided.

Vesicular stomatitis is a disease that primarily affects cattle, horses and swine, and occasionally sheep and goats. Humans can be exposed to the virus when handling affected animals but rarely become infected. Vesicular stomatitis causes blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals show signs of lameness and generally refuse to eat and drink which results in severe weight loss. There is risk of secondary infection of the open wounds. Animals usually recover within 2 weeks. While vesicular stomatitis can cause economic losses to livestock producers, it is a particularly important disease because its outward signs are similar to—although generally less severe than—those of foot-and-mouth disease, which horses are not susceptible to. The only way to distinguish among these diseases in livestock other than horses is through laboratory tests.

The mechanisms by which vesicular stomatitis spreads are not fully known: insect vectors, mechanical transmission and movement of animals are probably responsible. Once introduced into a herd, the disease apparently moves from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions. Historically, outbreaks of vesicular stomatitis have occurred in southwestern United States during warm months and particularly along river ways. However, outbreaks are sporadic and unpredictable.
(Source: USDA)

Gumbo

All this was after we collected 2 stallions and bred a bunch of mares. Then we packed up the trailer, loaded with 5 show horses and left the farm at 3:12 pm.

By 3:16 we were stuck.

We weren’t going fast …because we couldn’t go fast. Gumbo is just tricky stuff. We were lucky to get to the Cardston Agri-dome in time for the 2010 Cardston Derby!

And yes, I know you are wondering so I’ll stop your agonizing suspense. Danielle and I did come up with a song to match the occasion…

Tractor Man, Tractor Man

He’s your neighborhood Tractor Man

He’ll plow your fields

He’ll tow your truck

He comes to save you when you’re in the muck

Look out… Here comes the tractor man!

Synergistic Farriery

Synergy. The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of the separate effects.

Last year, I unfortunately began battling a lameness issue in my non-pro mare. With the help of a good vet, we had her x-rayed and blocked and although the diagnosis was uncertain, the word “Navicular” was tossed around as a possibility. And while I can’t tell you on a scale of 1-10 what the severity of her lameness was, or what exactly was going on in veterinary terms, it was enough to really scare me. Selena had never taken a lame step in the entire time I’ve owned her.

“Your horse may have navicular” were not words I wanted to hear.

As a result I reacted as any normal person would in the situation. I panicked. Thus, I set out on a long journey to get to the bottom of the issue and I’m very pleased with the results. As such, it’s a journey I’d like to share with you today.

Initial xrays on my mare looked pretty good, however, there was a noticeable lameness in her front left foot that continued to plague me.

Since realizing her trouble, Clay and I gave my mare a long vacation. From October 2009 on, she was turned out for rest. Then on March 24, 2010 one of our main farriers got together with us, along with one of our main vets and a farrier from Texas named “Jimbo.” Needless to say, I was nervous about the whole session but we needed to find some answers.

Our regular veterinarian (left), along with one of our regular farriers (center) along with “Jimbo.”

My mare had both front feet x-rayed.

Then they all took a look at the images.

Then they all watched my mare walk and trot, up and down hard ground to determine her footfalls. Then they looked at the xrays some more. They compare this information with my mare’s past medical history and xrays. Then Jimbo started a shoeing process for my mare’s future.

The 2 farriers working side-by-side.

Trailers (on the side) were left temporarily on her shoe on purpose.

My mare was trimmed so her pastern angle was straight on a lateral view. Jimbo said, “Her dorsal palmar joint spaces need to be level for medial lateral balance. She also needs to be at a positive palmar angle of 3 degrees.”

Working with our regular farrier, Jimbo crafted some flat shoes and custom-fitted them for my mare.

She was rasped as she would normally be done. And since this was a bit of different shoeing/trimming concept than my mare was used to, Clay and I gave her another week off afterwards to adjust to the new foot angle.


Jimbo also recommended that I have my mare’s “ankles” injected with Hylartin V (Made by Pfizer). And since my vet had been there that day, I didn’t have to try and explain anything about what Jimbo has previously prescribed. There was no information loss, or misinterpretations. The following week, my mare was clipped, sedated and scrubbed.

Then she was injected at the joint site. Jimbo had predicted there wouldn’t be an excess build-up of fluid, in my mare’s “ankles”. And he was right.

And today, I am extremely happy to tell you, she is trotting around very soundly in both directions. Although when I tried to take a picture of her trotting, she insisted on doing more than just that… Wish me luck. Selena is doing so well, we’ll be in the show pen by next weekend!

And this is Jimbo’s business card.

Cheers.

Agalactia

You gotta love the babies! But milk supply is crucial to their survival.

As if the anticipation of a newborn foal and a healthy delivery weren’t stress enough, there is nothing scarier than questioning whether or not a foal has had enough colostrum within 12-24 hours of birth. And believe me, a mare that doesn’t seem to be producing sufficient milk afterwards, will make you question that very fact.

First and Foremost: Colostrum is the life-giving substance which prepares a newborn foal for life. Since a brand new baby horse is totally and immunologically, vulnerable to the challenges of the outside world, colostrum deriving from the mare’s teat immediately after birth is Mother Nature’s way of delivering precious antibodies into a foal’s system. A new foal must get enough colostrum through passive transfer, within 12-24 hours of birth. Therefore, if you find yourself in a situation where a mare is not producing enough milk several hours later, or the next morning, you must ascertain whether or not the foal received adequate colostrum. I cannot stress this aspect enough.

A mare without milk is almost the same situation as an orphan foal. You have to make wise decisions and fast.

Determining colostrum intake is often done via a SNAP test or serum chemistry, to ensure antibody levels are adequate.

Of Second Importance: The results of a SNAP test are obtained very quickly – in something like 7 minutes. If it is determined that plasma or frozen colostrum is necessary, it is still important to remember that the foal also needs nutrition for energy. There are a few equine replacement supplements on the market that can help to feed the foal. These include; Equilac, Foalac or Kid Milk (the latter primarily being used for cattle). But it’s important to note that milk replacers DO NOT substitute colostrum.


Once a foal is is verified to have sufficient colostrum levels, providing adequate nutrition is the next big hurdle. Dr. Dennis Rach of Moore & Co. in Calgary, Alberta, gave me this helpful tip recently:

MILK REPLACER RECIPE
Ingredients – 2% Milk + Dextrose (50%)
Mixture – Combined 30-40 mls of Dextrose, per 1 Litre of milk

Dextrose is used as an aid in the treatment of glucose deficiencies in cattle. When added to 2% milk, it provides the nutrients a foal requires, plus, it helps to “sweeten” the milk slightly, to better simulate the taste of a mare’s milk.

If milk replacer is necessary, a foal needs to consume milk replacer every 2-4 hours. (This makes life very difficult, but it needs to be done.) And a foal must consume 16-18% of its body weight in milk per day. For example, a 60 pound foal must consume 6 pounds of milk per day.

Some handy calculations:
1 Quart = 2.5 Pounds
1 Litre = 1 Kilo = 2.2 Pounds

Domperidon.

It also possible to induce lactation. Certain treatment protocols have resulted in milk production ranging from 25% to 82% in success rates. However, induced lactation does not begin with a production of colostrum. Domperidone (check it out at equitoxpharma.com) has been used in recent years with good success, to increase endogenous prolactin secretion in mares (either in advancing the onset of reproductive activity in early spring or to counter the ill effects of fescue toxicosis in pregnant mares at term.)

And of course, check out www.cyberfoal.com in you have an orphan foal, or have a mare suffering from agalactia (non-production of milk). This website works!! It has proven to be a valuable tool for matching orphan foals with nurse mares. At CyberFoal.com, you can apply for a nurse mare or post your own mare up for a newborn foal adoption (if she has lost her foal) and help to benefit someone else who may have an orphan. You can also apply for colostrum or read listings as to where colostrum banks may be located. Altogether, CyberFoal.com is a brilliant, valuable website for owners in dire need of colostrum or nurse mare matches.

Linear Keratosis

Recently, one of our horses was diagnosed with the dermatological condition of equine linear keratosis. It was with great difficulty that the condition was properly diagnosed. That’s why, I thought it might be helpful to share our experience, in case there are other horse owners out there who are baffled by the same equine skin disorder.

Our mare is a 2007 model which we purchased from a reputable breeder. Upon picking her up, we discovered a fungus-like patch extending from her right wither down to her right gaskin. The condition did not seem to be bothering her (it wasn’t itchy), however if it was a fungus that could be transferred to another animal, this was a concern to us. Therefore, following several veterinarian examinations and various topical anti-fungal preparations, one of our vets suggested that we do a skin biopsy. This test produced accurate results. And while knowing what we were dealing with was a huge relief, we couldn’t help but feel slightly forlorn when we finally did get a proper diagnosis.

Equine Linear Keratosis occurs as vertical linear areas of alopecia (or near alopecia), scaling and crust formation on the sides of the horse’s neck, or shoulder or chest. The condition is characterized by the gradual development of annular areas of alopecia, usually in a linear, vertically oriented configuration. In our mare’s case, her shoulder looked as though someone had spilled a chemical down her body – a scenario we even considered for a while. The lesions are usually 2 to 10mm wide by a few cm to more than 1m in length. The lesions are neither painful nor pruritic. Our horse isn’t itchy and the skin seems healthy otherwise. Linear keratosis accounts for 0.67 per cent of the equine dermatology cases seen at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Meaning, the condition is very rare.

At the end of the blue arrow, you can faintly see the color of the hair coat has changed, due to linear keratosis on the inside of the leg.

At the blue arrow, you can faintly see the change of coat color that occurs due to the linear keratosis.

Since the diagnosis, we have learned that it is possibly a hereditary condition and it may never disappear. However, linear keratosis is not contagious and luckily, it cannot pass from our mare to her stable mate or any other horses she may come into contact with. And aside from its blemish appearance, our mare’s skin disorder really doesn’t affect her. She is not sore in that area and it had never affected her training.

Linear keratosis is something I will continue to investigate and as I learn more, I’ll keep you posted!