Horse Skin Problems - Rashes, Bumps and Bald Patches

Learn About Horse Skin Problems

It's almost inevitable that your horse will have some sort of skin problem during its lifetime. It's not unusual to bring a horse in to find it covered in bumps or sensitive spots. Often small bumps that look like pasture injuries develop into larger problems caused by bugs, allergies,  or viruses. All sorts of things can cause skin problems, from too much rain or bathing, to insect or grooming sprays, not to mention pollen and other environmental irritants.

  • 01 of 08
    Woman putting halter on horse.
    Check your horse frequently during damp weather to catch rain scald before it spreads. Image Credit: /Getty Images

    Sometimes a run of damp, rainy weather is all it takes for a horse to develop rain rot or rain scald. Yes, you can provide shelter, but horses can be like little kids and not know when to come in out of the rain. Often it's the elderly, or under-condition horses that are affected. But not always. Learn how to identify, treat and avoid the common horses sking problem, rain rot.

  • 02 of 08
    Light micrograph of the fungus
    Micrograph of tinea. CNRI/SPL / Getty Images

    Ringworm isn't caused by a worm, but it is something you can share with your horse. Again, this is a skin problem that mainly affects horses  in poor condition, but once one horse gets it, the others easily can too, along with all the four and two legged family members. Find out what really causes ring worm, how to avoid the spread of this skin problem and how to treat the whole family if the do get it.

  • 03 of 08
    Microscopic view of a mange mite.
    Sarcoptes mite in the institute for parasitology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Image Credit:AgenAnimPic1444 /Getty Images

    There's no doubt good health goes a long way to prevent many illnesses and diseases, including skin problems. There are a few different types of mange, and they show up on the horse's skin in slightly different ways. Learn what this skin problem looks like, how to treat it and how to avoid spreading mange to other horse's or yourself.

  • 04 of 08
    Diagram of a horse louse.
    Diagram of a male and female horse louse. Credit: G. F. Ferris. San Francisco: Pacific Coast Entomological Society, 1951

    Like their human counterpart, lice aren't too fussy about who they snack on, from expensive racehorse to lowly but loved backyard companion. Lice are usually equated with poor living conditions, but that's not always the case. As long as there is a warm body to hitch a ride on, they'll gladly hop aboard. What can you do about lice? Lean how to clear them up and why lice on your horse probably won't hitch a ride on you.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Buckskin horse swishes his tail at flies
    Pollen can affect horses, causing allergies. Suzanne Cummings / Getty Images

    Many of us know the agony of seasonal allergies. Or perhaps you know what it's like to be allergic to your cat, dog or even your horse! Horses can have allergies too and the symptoms can range from  a few hives that disappear within days, to severe allergies requiring veterinarian assistance.

  • 06 of 08
    White back legs
    Horse with white stocking are more likely to develop grease heel than horses with dark skin on their lower legs. Image: K. Blocksdorf

    Perhaps the most difficult skin condition to clear up is grease heel, more properly known as pastern dermatitis. Grease heel does have other several common names as well. Because it happens in an area of the skin that is always bending and stretching and exposed to damp and dirt, grease heel can take a long time to heal. Learn the causes of grease heel and how to handle it.

  • 07 of 08
    Mare looking at her pinto colt.
    The white markings of a pinto or paint horse are there from birth. Vitilago affects older horses. Image Credit:Rachelle Vance Photography/Moment RM /Getty Images

    While a horse with flashy white markings is undeniably eye-catching, white markings that suddenly appear around eyes and other thin skinned areas on the horse leave many horse owners worrying. Vitiligo can affect humans too. (But don't worry, it's not contagious and you won't get it from your horse.)

  • 08 of 08

    Summer Itch or Sweet Itch in Horses

    Italy - Badia-Abtei - Mountain ponies doze in the heat
    Biting insects can cause skin irritations. Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

    Sweet itch doesn't sound too bad does it? Maybe it's something like a sweet tooth? No, sweet itch is anything but sweet. It can be extremely uncomfortable, causing inflammation and hair loss. The horse can even damage its skin trying to relieve the itch. Nothing sweet about that. Learn what causes sweet or summer itch and how to treat and avoid it.