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Scratches......
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Scratches......

As the owner and caregiver for an arab cross gelding for the past five years, I am still puzzled by the recurrence of scratches on his hind legs. He is groomed every day and still manages to fall victim to this silent and very annoying ailment. The photo was taken in January so that is why his leg hair was long and scraggly looking (We live in the cold/snowy midwest). We have tried so many different recipes and all have been effective for a while. After months of diminishing or eliminating the  scabs, the treatment becomes ineffective and the scabs return no matter how many times a day we treat the affected area.

I have consulted many many horse owners and vets with the question of how to get rid of the scratches and no one has a remedy that will forever remove them from our beloved horse. We welcome any advice you may have!

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  1. Rene Wright
    Rene Wright
    I don't know if this is what you are referring to, but I found this link & maybe they will be able to help you & your gelding. http://www.weitzequine.com/pastern-dermatitis/ I've never had any experience with scratches, but I do pray you find a cure. Voted. Would you please check out my latest blog: Controversial Diatomaceous Earth, Vote & comment if you like it. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.
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  2. Michelle Jane
    Michelle Jane
    Thanks so much! I do believe that is what it may be and thankfully he has never had them so severely. He is outdoor pasture all the time and the scratches reappear in spring when it is muddy- thanks for the link, Rene!
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    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      My pleasure! I do hope you find the answers & ways to get him healed up :)
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  3. PonyGirl
    PonyGirl
    The treatment, of course would depend on the underlying cause. If your horse has a bacterial or fungal infection, then an antibiotic or antifungal ointment will need to be applied. If it's caused by an allergy, feeding him an oral antihistamine may help. One of the problems with scratches (or cracked heels) is that often treatment for the underlying cause irritates the skin and allows new and sometimes different infections to occur. I would start out using an antifungal/antibiotic ointment. It should be greasy. Gently massage the ointment into the heels to loosen the scabs. When a scab comes off, put a little more ointment on the skin underneath. Sometimes it takes several days to remove all the scabs. If a scab doesn't come off easily, or if the horse acts like it's painful, just let the ointment soak in and leave it until the next treatment. Massage the ointment in as much as you can, because if a lot of dirt sticks to it, this will irritate the skin and may reintroduce bacteria or fungus. If the sores aren't weeping, it's probably best to leave the area unwrapped. Treat twice a day if possible. Unless the horse is muddy, I would not use water on his legs, as this will dry out the skin and lead to further problems. I also would not recommend clipping, since the hair is nature's protection. If you don't put water on his legs, you won't have to worry about his long hair not drying and keeping the skin wet. Once the leg starts looking better, switch from your ointment to Carmex lip balm in the little tub. (I stumbled on to this method by accident) Even though the Carmex will not combat an ongoing infection of bacteria or fungus, you won't find anything better to heal the chapped skin and protect it from re-infection. I hope this information helps.
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    1. Michelle Jane
      Michelle Jane
      thanks so much! He has never had weeping wounds thankfully just the annoying scabs.
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