Horse owners have a special relationship with their horses. Whether they ride them or use them to work the fields, they tend to develop a friendly attitude towards their steeds. That is why Brain Cockerton got worried when he saw that something was wrong with his two horses when they started to get burn lesions on their bodies.
After trying some anti-fungal treatments, he realized that it was something more than just fungus which was making the horses’ hair fall out. Calling the veterinarian, he found out that it was a skin disease known as photosensitization. The rashes were thought to be caused by tainted hay and horse owners in Southern California should be aware of the symptoms.
Photosensitization is a skin condition that, in simple words, is extreme sensitivity to direct sunlight. The condition leads to a skin disease known as photodermatitis. It is not normally fatal but it could be if some secondary infection is unable to be controlled.
The disease has been found to originate from Southern California, with most of the cases coming from Norco. Horse owners have reported as many as two dozen cases by now.
- The first signs of the disease crop up in the form of rashes on the horse’s skin.
- This leads to the hides becoming bubbly and they start losing hair.
- The rashes and lesions spread all over the white parts of the horse’s hide, and the skin becomes more sensitive which leads to the horse being in severe pain.
Horse owners beware! The cause for these rashes is tainted alfalfa hay that has some substance which naturally occurs in it. The toxicology reports have all come out with the conclusion that there are no toxic materials or chemicals in the affected hay.
There are some theories that suggest that the reason for this may be an increase in some ingredient of the hay, due to the lack of water. It is also thought that the reason for this occurrence may be that the hay isn’t given enough time to rest after being cut before it is fed to the horses.
- The first thing to do is to get the horses away from direct sunlight.
- Antibiotics should be administered to them in case the horses have bacterial infections.
- As a precaution, horses should only be taken out of their stables at night.
- Keep your hay resting for a while before feeding it to the horses.
- As soon as some symptom comes up, make sure you report it to the state agency.
- Avoid getting your hay from areas like the Bishop in Eastern Sierra, which is known to have been a source of the affected hay.
Photosensitization may not be a disease that is deemed serious enough to be reported to the state agency, but seeing the number of occurrences that have taken place, horse owners are being encouraged to report any cases they know of. The related departments are looking into the condition more in order to determine the cause but this much is known, that it is tainted hay which is causing the severe rashes and lesions in horses.
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