Only a week or so before Wee and Blue\’s yearend 4-H show, I happened to notice this abrasion above the Paint gelding\’s left front heel. I guessed that the fungal skin disease, commonly called “equine scratches” had been there for a bit, and we just hadn\’t been paying close enough attention.
Given the atypical damp weather and subsequent chronically wet ground we\’ve had this summer, scratches has been a bit of an epidemic in our region. Blue was the only one of our horses at home to acquire the condition, perhaps because of his white socks and legs, being that unpigmented skin seems to be more susceptible to the condition.
A milder version of it was also present above his right front heel. The condition here illustrates the origin of the moniker \”scratches\” as the condition often presents as thin inflamed lines across the skin, mimicking scratches or cuts.
Our neighbour and coach related she\’d been seeing a lot of the same at her stable this spring and into the summer, and recommended this product – Vetericyn.
In conjunction with regular gentle cleaning and importantly, keeping the area as dry as possible, as well as several daily applications of the Vetericyn, we managed to treat Blue\’s case of scratches fairly quickly.
While it was all but cleared up by the time the show weekend arrived, we continued to apply an overnight treatment at the show. Since it can be used prior to the application of other treatments, we doused with Vetericyn, let dry and then applied a salve which had been recommended by a local vet office. This seemed to work well.
Interestingly, as I asked around at neighbouring stables and of my friends, there emerged about as many methods of treating this skin disease, as there were incidents of it. Overall, the general idea of cleansing the area, keeping it dry and applying a topical solution seemed universal, and sound. It\’s at the \”topical solution\” juncture, that the opinions varied widely. So, I\’m curious, how do you treat equine scratches? Let us know in the comment section below if you\’ve found a particular product or method that works best at your barn.