Monday, July 13, 2015

The Never Ending Case of the Skin Funk

This one time, my horse had gorgeously clean hind legs: zero signs of arthritis, no random swellings, and good hair growth. His hind legs were a pinnacle of horse health.
I mean, except for the shoes and the low heels...
But now ... not so much. 
Ewwwww...
The moment Pig's legs hit the sandier soil of Maryland, it seems all the nasty skin funks rose up to create a disgustingly virulent case of scratches along the backs of his lower hind legs. His hair has fallen out. His skin has created these large and leaky scabs. His skin is inflamed, and he is really, really pissed about it.

So am I.

I started off the fight easy with some Scarlex spray and gentle loosening of the early scabs, but that was not enough. From there I moved on to shampooing and applying MTG to the affected area. Unfortunately all that did was burn the newly exposed skin and create a big swollen leg.

Gross.
Fat legged horses get extra grain laced with LOTS of bute...
The last course of action is complicated, but finally (2 weeks in!) seems to be working.

Here's what I've been doing--
Step 1: Rinse horse all over with apple cider vinegar/water mixture.
Step 2: Scrub affected areas with Betadine, trying to loosen and remove as many scabs as possible without getting kicked in the face.
Step 3: Let Betadine sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse.
Step 4: Shampoo all four legs from knees/hocks down with Microtek.
Step 5: Spray affected areas with Microtek spray. Rub in.
Step 6: Apply Corona ointment to any particularly open sores.

It might seem like overkill (and take FOREVER), but the results I'm seeing are keeping me at it. Fingers crossed this nasty infection continues to clear!
This pretty much sums up our feelings on the matter...

31 comments:

  1. UGH THAT'S THE WORST. Dino and I went through the case of Scratches From Hell last year. I have had VERY good experiences with Well-Horse Resin in treating the last very stubborn bits of scratches. It's herbal and 'natural' and it looks like dried blood once it's on but damn if that stuff doesn't work! If your current routine doesn't quite kick it I'd try that next! You always end up trying a million things for skin stuff until you find what works for that particular type of crud.

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  2. Everything in our barn got hives about 2 months ago which turned into this awful rain rot funky crap. Of course all the hair falls out when you get it off them, so now a significant number of horses look homeless. And it's not for lack of grooming! Most are groomed every day. I've been able to keep Mikey's at bay (he usually has the worst of the skin conditions- sensitive redhead), by feeding him chia seeds and spraying him down with original listerine and scrubbing bad spots with betadine shampoo. The listerine has made the most improvement- it seems to be drying out whatever it is so when I peel it off I don't take off as much hair. Mikey has had hard to get rid of funkyness on his hind legs for years, I can't ever seem to make it go away. I've been spraying it with listerine and it's staying away! Good luck getting rid of Pig's crud!

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    1. I'll be honest, I think Pig has had latent skin funk back there ever since the trailer accident cut up his hinds. Maybe this is a hidden blessing, his legs are actually feeling cleaner than they have since the accident. I just hope all the patches grow hair back...

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    2. You and me both! Mikey has quarter sized bald patches dotting his hindquarters like he's an appaloosa. His original bald patches from a scrub a couple weeks ago are finally starting to grow in.

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  3. all the horses at our barn are fighting off scratches and other disgusting variations of funk too right now, and i blame all this rain... luckily my girl does pretty well with MTG so i've been sticking with that, tho i've heard it can burn some horses. poor Guinness, i hope he feels better soon :(

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    1. Skin funk is the gross. It's funny, the microtek really must soothe. Pig was pretty much "noping" every attempt to touch his hinds for a day or so, then I started using the microtek. Now he stands immobile while I spray it on his scabs and rub. That stuff is amazing.

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  4. I would highly recommend Malaseb. Fiction had a horrible case of skin crap earlier and every day bathing with malaseb combined with MTG (though I know in your case that doesn't work), got rid of it. He is now growing back hair super fast!

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    1. Never heard of Malaseb, but I'm willing to look it up! Thanks!

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  5. Ugh, Chloe is just on the mend from some awful scratches on her front heels/pasterns. I did the Desitin 40%/hydrocortisone ointment/triple antibiotic ointment/foot fungus powder mixture and it seems to be really helping. The scabs are pretty much gone now and we are just working on regrowing the hair. I only washed the scratches once or twice with chlorhexadine wash and then just wiped them down really well with baby wipes before I put the "Magic Mix" on. I also used a little Vaseline and let it sit on for about 10 minutes to loosen the scabs and rubbed them off with my fingers instead of scrub to avoid getting kicked in the head.
    The only downside to the 'Magic Mix" is that both Chloe's feet and my hands smell like a baby's butt afterwards. Best of luck fighting the crud, it is no fun at all!

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    1. I have used Destin with good results on thrush when Pig lived in a stall. I've heard it can do some good on scratches to help keep the moisture off. Might be worth a try...

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    2. I have also used Desitin on scratches with awesome results. I sometimes also need to add an anti-fungal to cover all the bases. Hope he feels better soon!

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  6. No might try No Thrush. I used it for suculus thrush on his frogs and it was amazing. They advertise it for Scratches too. It is a dry organic powder. You put it on for two weeks and it should clear up the fungus. It can be used for Rain Rot as well.

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    1. Hm, my old barn used this all the time. I never had any luck with it clearing up thrush, but maybe it works better on rain rot?

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  7. oh poor Pig. Good thing that he has you. It seems that him and Irish have a lot in common....

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  8. I think your system is a good one. Once you get it under control with the scrubbing and microtek, I'd say go to Desitin. It will keep the skin protected from bacteria and wetness so it can heal properly. If it's still all cruddy and you put desitin on that will just trap the bacteria and keep it from drying out though. Also - if you can get your hands on any Animax ointment (you usually have to get it from a vet), that stuff will clear it up immediately and reduce inflammation so he's not sore and swollen. It has a steroid in it so it works fast. My go-to. Poor Pig!

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  9. OH god. I hate this for you. I'm all too familiar with scratches. Q had two chronic cases last year that involved vet intervention. Alu spray helped me some. But ultimately what helped was Saiph's concoction of 1 tube desitin, 1 tub lotrimin with the steroids in it, 1 tube triple antibiotic ointment, 1 tube miconazole (yeast infection cream). Mix all together and then smear liberally. Dry-wet cycles make the skin more cranky and prone to cracking and thus getting more scabbing, so having this concoction helped cut out so many washings. Ultimately, gotta get the damn scabs off to see any improvement. Q took an elephant sized amount of sedative and a twitch and STILL kicked out at us while we shaved off the scabs. We got 'er done though, and the ointment kept everything happy afterward. So, believe me when I say I understand how much you hate it - how much both of you hate it. It. Is. The. Devil.

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    1. Yup! That concoction is a life-saver! You can also do: 1 tube of regular Lotrimin, 1 tube of Desitin, 1 tube of triple antibiotic ointment, and 1 tube of 1% hydrocortisone ointment. My FL vet came up with that one for treating summer sores and it is DA BOMB for scratches!! I use Microtek shampoo for washing initially, apply Furazone overnight to soften the scabs, wash the next day with Microtek and apply the concoction. Works like a charm. I discontinue the Furazone (only use it the first night) and keep applying the mix of creams every day and shampooing every other day until the fungus disappears. Usually takes 1-2 weeks to clear up. My main beast, also a TB, likes to get scratches in WINTER which is the most miserable of all miseries because freezing cold and water and winter hair that you can't clip because the horse's skin is so inflamed it hurts like a mother. And you know, you do all that treatment only to send the horse back out into the land of perpetual mud that is MD winters...I agree with what others said: Desitin is a lifesaver!!! It's the only thing that has kept Lily scratches-free since during winter since then. I apply it to all the sensitive spots when we're going to be having lots of mud. That, and upping her ground flax ration to 1 cup a day (split into 2 meals) at the advice of my vet.

      Except for this year: this year she has gotten them while in a well-drained field over the summer because we have had so much rain, the grass is always wet. I'm hoping it heals while she's on stall rest now, since I can't really wash the backs of her legs when she has a giant bandage that can't get wet. Ugh...

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    2. Liz, I remember your struggles with Q's scratches. I am so glad you got them under control. I completely forgot about your remedy though. Thanks both of you for reminding me! Saiph, I am lucky that the pasture here isn't ever muddy. The pasture we moved from was actually more of a clay quagmire, so it's funny to me that he chose to get scratches here and not there! I guess it's true when they say that sand tends to harbor more nasties!

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  10. Oh red TB. There are things I do not miss. ;-)

    Of course, my bay OTTB is bound and determined to always be missing patches of hair on his face. Not sure that's better.

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    1. Oh. We have those, too. Right now he has a scratch over his eye... and on his side ... and on his butt. Ugh. Klutz!

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  11. Yuck. Scratches were a HUGE problem for my endurance horses, one mare in particular. I had all sorts of home remedies and commercial preparations that I used - wrapping in sauerkraut worked for the really bad cases. It's a frustrating skin condition (for both the horse and rider). Hope it passes quickly.

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    1. Sauerkraut? Really? Whoa ... that's probably the only use of sauerkraut I could endorse. :)

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  12. No fun!! I just betadined the hell out of my mom's horse's legs to try to get his fungus off and Rico is up next. I can't believe fungus still exists in our drought. Good luck!!

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    1. No kidding! Though, I was always amazed that the horses would get thrush when the ground was totally frozen solid and it was -20 outside! Fungus and nastiness will persevere, apparently. Bleh.

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  14. Oh no! Get well soon G-man!!!!

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  15. Yuck - skin fungus is the worst! I did battle with a bad case on all 4 of Riva's white socks a couple years ago. I tried every concoction that people recommended but I think what finally cleared it up was getting all the scabs off (a pet flea comb works great!) and washing with Microtek shampoo. Riva has not developed any since then - I use Microtek shampoo now every time I bathe her and I dry her leg thoroughly afterwards.

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    1. Microtek is a godsend, I am convinced. It was in every wash stall in Florida for a reason!

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