That’s not snow…
You may have noticed some fine white stuff the last time you changed your horse’s blankets. Nope, that’s not snow…it’s dandruff. And it’s probably in the mane, the tail, and if you’re very unlucky, all over your horse’s body, as well.
We’re seeing it this winter on horses who normally aren’t afflicted, perhaps because of the colder/drier conditions so far this year. This itchy skin condition can also be caused by insects, parasites, or a dietary deficiency, so identifying the cause can be the key to a cure.
If you horse is dealing with an insect or a parasite, or if the dandruff is accompanied by a skin disease like rainrot or scratches, an anti-fungal spray is your best bet to getting that healthy shine back.
The diet can also be the cause–if your horse isn’t getting enough fatty acids, it’s hard for him to produce enough oil to keep his skin moisturized on his own. A few pumps of rice bran oil or the addition of flax seeds to the diet can help with this; plant oils can also help your horse hold weight during the cold.
No matter what the cause, a good, thorough grooming is the key to getting rid of those flakes. The curry comb is your friend here, and be sure to rub the coat out afterward with a soft brush or rag. Spray-on moisturizers or coat conditioners can be good in the cold weather–they may not bring back a healthy glow by themselves, but they can help prevent it from becoming worse. Once it’s warm enough (or if you’re lucky enough to have heat lamps in your barn) a bath with an antifungal shampoo or chlorhexidine solution can help address dandruff. We’re big fans of chlorhexidine, since it works well on several different skin issues and won’t sting on cuts or scrapes.
Your turn: What are your favorite wintertime grooming routines?
Posted on January 31, 2014, in Helpful articles and tagged horse, horse care, horse dandruff, horse grooming, horse skin disease, horse skin issues, horses, winter horse care. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.