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Itching for Spring? Learn to Identify & Treat Horse Skin Conditions

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ringworm in horses

Horse skin conditions can be frustrating and difficult to diagnosis at times! Learn how to quickly identify and prevent some of the most common winter skin conditions in horses with this handy list:


What is Ringworm? 

Fungal Dermatitis AKA Ringworm in horses is caused by a highly contagious fungal infection, named for the shape of the skin lesions it causes. Not only can this fungus be easily transferred from horse-to-horse, some forms can be transmitted to you! 

How to Identify Ringworm:

Generally the skin lesions start as small raised spots from which the hair is lost. These lesions may become itchy, scruffy or covered with a thick crusty scab. 

Treatment and Prevention:

Ringworm is highly contagious, and if left untreated, can be spread to items such as grooming products and blankets which can easily cause an outbreak. Treat your horse with a topical fungicide such as Corona Fung-A-Way. If conditions worsen, or do not improve contact your veterinarian immediately.

To help prevent the spread of ringworm, occasionally disinfect all horse clothing and grooming equipment. If possible, designate a separate set of grooming, tack, and clothing for each individual horse.

Sweet/Girth Itch

What is Sweet Itch?

Sweet itch in horses is caused by an allergy to the bites of tiny Culicoides gnats (also called no-see-’ems). When the small, itchy bites form on the skin, irritation occurs causing the horse to rub and itch affected sites. Scabbing and ulceration can result from the rubbing.

horse sweet itch

How to Identify Sweet Itch:

Often, sweet itch is related to rubbing and itching. Your horse may develop hair loss, broken manes, and/or crusty or bumpy skin.

Treatment and Prevention:

Apply a skin protectant/conditioner to your horse's affected areas. If conditions worsen, or do not improve contact your veterinarian immediately.

Help prevent sweet itch in your horse by keeping the gnats at bay! Consider dressing you horse in a fly sheet designed to extend at least half-way down your horse's tail, add cider vinegar or garlic to your horse's feed, or keep fly spray on hand.

Rain Rot

What is Rain Rot (Scald)?

Rain Rot in horses is a skin disease caused by a bacterium that thrives in moist conditions, and enters through damaged skin (such as cuts or bug bites). 

rain rot in horses

How to Identify Rain Rot

Rain Rot typically appears over a horse's neck, back and croup but may also spread to the legs. The affected skin will have crusty raised tufts of matted hair. The tufts of hair will usually shed, leaving hairless patches.

Treatment and Prevention

To treat Rain Rot, wash the affected areas with a mild antiseptic and expose the areas to air. If conditions worsen, or do not improve contact your veterinarian immediately.

Prevent Rain Rot in your horse by keeping them clean and dry. During wet weather, be sure your horse has shelter or is wearing a waterproof breathable sheet or blanket.

Looking for a topical horse skin care product? Try Corona Fung-A-Way!  This outstanding topical fungicide aids in the control of several fungal infections:

  • Helps control ringworm in horses, summer itch, girth itch, and other horse skin conditions
  • Contains Allantoin which helps protect and soothe irritated skin
  • Non-staining formula so you don’t have to worry about unsightly marks
  • Compare our value to other horse skin treatments!
  • Available in a 16 oz. or 32 oz. spray bottle

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Gabby Gufler

Gabby Gufler

Gabby Gufler graduated from Truman State University in 2013 with a BS in Animal Science & Nutrition and a minor in Equine Science. Gabby currently works on Manna Pro’s marketing team, and enjoys competing regularly with her six horses.

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