Thin Coat/Bald patches

Discussion in 'Equine' started by goatadventure, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. goatadventure

    goatadventure Member

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    As you may be able to tell from my user name, I typically hang out in the goat forums. :) But, my homesteading adventures have recently taken me into the equine world as well!

    We purchased a 15 yr. old mare about 4 months ago and she been struggling with a VERY thin coat ever since we purchased her. We have been putting a hair growth spray on her and tried adding kelp to her diet, but it doesn't seem to be improving. Most recently, she came up with bald patches around her bridle area, under her mane, and on her loin/croup area. She doesn't seem to be itching and it doesn't seem to be painful to the touch.

    Several folks suggested it was a fungus or maybe related to flies or rain rot or maybe even a hormone issue. It is hard to know how to treat something that isn't defined. :) I am posting a couple of pictures and I would love to get input! Thank you!
     

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  2. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Looks like lice. Could try betidine if it is a fungus. But you realy need a Vet that does equine work. I'm sure you have sen Vets that do a better job with goats, now you need a horse expert. The Vet cabn do a blood test for abnormal hormone.

    I don't know about a hair growth spray.
     
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  3. Teej

    Teej Well-Known Member

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    If it's lice and too cold still to bathe in your location you can get a fly spray that is labeled for also controlling ticks and lice, or they do have a powder you can dust them with.

    Rain rot can be controlled with a betadine wash or I've heard people swear by giving them vitamin A. They say buy the injectable for cattle and squirt 10 cc's into their mouth once a week for a couple of weeks. I have never tried this so can't attest to the fact that it works, mainly because I've only dealt with it one time and it was before I heard about it.

    Was this horse in pretty bad shape when you got it? I ask because several times over the years I've taken in some sad looking horses and they would start losing winter hair before the summer hair came in thus leaving big bald patches (my gelding started doing the same when he got to his last couple of years). The next year they would shed perfectly normal so it very well could be nutrition based. It makes sense anyway. My vet said he sees it a lot in the same type of situations, either malnourished or very old, but they weren't quite sure whether it was hormonal or nutritional. It's been several years since we've discussed this so new info may be known about it by now.
     
  4. aoconnor1

    aoconnor1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would agree with the posts so far, but also would add that she may need to have a feed change as this could be a nutrition issue. I see it in a lot of horses that come to me in poor condition. You need to get her on a good feed, if you don't already have her on something of good quality. Nutrena Safe Choice Senior is a good one, as is Purina Senior. I feed both, I also feed Purina Strategy and Blue Bonnet Total Advantage. I have many horses in different age and condition ranges, I find all of the feeds above to be good long term.
     
  5. Alder

    Alder Well-Known Member

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    Yah, that ain't good. The last picture almost looks like ringworm, so I'm guessing "some" kind of fungus is involved, though maybe not the only, or even core issue. Around here, rain-rot is usually along the backbone/croup, but I'm not sure of your climate/region.

    Guess if she were mine, I'd give her daily Betadine washes on those bad spots, then really step up the fat in her feed. The suggestion of switching her to a good "Senior" feed for a while until she is back on track is very sound. I like either Nutrena or Purina. That stuff can almost work miracles for dietary issues. Then, I'd also be adding 1/3 cup Canola oil morning and night....adjust as needed up to about a cup or cup and 1/2 (no more) per day. Start out gradually the first week, because oil can be laxative at first. Neither of these feeds (Senior or oil) should make her "hot" or promote metabolic issues (laminitis).

    Traveling further down the bunny trail, haircoat weirdness can also be a sign of Cushing's Disease or thyroid issues, and she's getting to the age when it could show itself. Spring and Fall (natural hormone changes) seem to be the worst seasons for symptoms. You would need a good horse vet to diagnose (and treat) this, but try the feed and Betadine suggestions first.

    A more detailed description of her original condition and what you are feeding would help. Also, does she have a history of laminitis, hoof abscesses, foot "soreness". Thanks and good luck! :)
     
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  6. goatadventure

    goatadventure Member

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    Thank you all for the help! I do have a few questions in response.

    So, if it is lice, should I see signs of "bugs?" As you may be able to see from the photos, she seems to have a little bit of dandruff/flakes on her bald patches, but I haven't seen any lice. She is kept with other horses and they have not had any lice issues this year.

    If it is rain rot, would it have raw patches? It doesn't seem to be raw anywhere.

    We are in south central Texas and have had a really mild winter (89 degree temps one week, ha!) and it has been moderately moist. She didn't really grow a winter coat, but the thin coat might be seasonal as she sheds.

    She was not in terrible condition when we purchased her, but we have put weight on her. Her coat was thin when we purchased her, but the bald patches just appeared in the past few weeks. We purchased her with another horse who has an extremely thick coat. To my knowledge, they were both on the same feed when we purchased them.

    She is on Total Equine Feed and being fed a high quality horse hay. She is also on pasture.

    I've heard of adding flaxseed oil for coat condition. Could I just add that to her feed to increase the fat/omega 3 instead of switching feeds right now?

    Thank you again!
     
  7. Alder

    Alder Well-Known Member

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    For the oil, sure - whichever one you prefer. I use Canola because I get it in big jugs at Sam's Club.

    Rainrot can also just be sort of scurfy, flaky skin, and sometimes wet and a little weepy. I guess I wouldn't first think "lice" but again, my climate is worlds away from yours.

    From what you have said - her "better than purchase" condition and good feed, and the good condition of the other horses she is with - you may be looking more at a metabolic/hormone thing.
     
  8. goatadventure

    goatadventure Member

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    Thanks! So to clarify, would the oil help balance out the metabolic/hormone issue? How does that work it seems she needs the added fat only for conditioning not weight gain.
     
  9. Alder

    Alder Well-Known Member

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    The fat won't help any metabolic issues, but might promote a healthier coat and skin. Just something I'd try after dealing with my own older horses - and not wanting to add any more carbs to the diet.
     
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  10. aoconnor1

    aoconnor1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have used Total Equine, prefer not to use it as it didn't do well with my older horses (I have 32 horses, not one of my old ones did well on it, which is odd, but made me not want to feed it to any of the others, either!). My experience wasn't great with it. I am in North Central Texas (Weatherford area), and we have had a wonderful mild winter as well. In fact, it has been so mild that I started my guys back on Simplifly in late January, the earliest I have ever started them. I also already have my first jumbo order of Fly Predators! It's gonna be a "buggy" year here.

    I would also maybe try a product called "Calm Coat". It is a good fixer for coat/skin conditions. I am using it currently on a colt with nose warts he got from grazing on a cow pasture. It is working well on drying them up, even though it is an oil based product. It is available at most large feed stores, or you might find it at Tractor Supply, but I am not sure on that.
     
  11. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The term Total Equine means nothing to me. I have no idea who makes it or what it is made of. I also have no idea how you know the hay is high quality. I just don't know.

    If you feed flax, it should be freshly ground. I use a Thrift Shop used electric coffee grinder.

    I feed a mix of oats, spelt, corn, a little soy meal, corn oil, vitimins and minerals with the freshly ground flax. I feed grass hay with some clover and alfalfa, not dusty.
     
  12. aoconnor1

    aoconnor1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Total Equine is basically an extruded alfalfa feed. It is higher in protein (15%}, than I like to feed, and has more fillers than I like. My horses did not do well on it. It is lower in fat at 5% than most senior horses should have, and it has nothing for skin condition in it (no oils or flax, etc). I stick with well tested feeds that have been proven repeatedly over time to produce the best nutrition for a large range of horses.

    If it were me, and I'm not there seeing the horse in person, but I would slowly get her switched to a feed with a lower protein/higher fat feed, with probiotics built in, as well as flax, rice bran, or another similar coat and weight supplement.

    Also, not sure how you know the hay is high quality? Stick with a trusted local feed store to tell you who has good quality Bermuda grass hay, or take a sample of what you are buying and have it tested. A good, quality Bermuda should have no dust, and should look and smell fresh. Alfalfa should have a lot of leaf, especially for a senior horse. They can't always chew the thick stems in alfalfa. Have your mares teeth checked to be sure she is eating properly as well.

    Hope all this helps!
     
  13. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You already have conflicting advice and will likely get more conflicting advice.

    My suggestion would be to contact your vet and start with getting a proper diagnosis based on fact because randomly treating without may simply prolong or aggravate a problem.

    Any vet worth their license will run a simple skin scraping test and likely find a quick solution rather than wasting money on products and treatments that may or may not work.

    This also serves to establish a relationship with a vet which means that when you need the horse vaccinated, teeth floated or it's simply injured, you have someone to call.
     
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  14. aoconnor1

    aoconnor1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't think we contradicted each other at all. We simply have several ideas of what to treat with and possible causes. Obviously a vet would be the best place to go, but the op asked here first, and being a new horse person, the op was given some good long term care tips that will help them in more than just this particular situation.
     
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  15. aoconnor1

    aoconnor1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Also, if the OP is still reading, Ivermectin paste wormer will take care of Lice, if that is the issue. You can worm her, then re-dose 2 weeks later. I have a mini mule with lice, I am doing this with him right now.
     
  16. goatadventure

    goatadventure Member

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    Sorry for my silence! Thanks for all the helpful info! I sure appreciate it! I was able to get in touch with the horse's previous owner and she said that the horse has regularly suffered from allergies which causes the hair loss in the spring. So now on to researching allergies...! :)
     
  17. aoconnor1

    aoconnor1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here is one piece of info that might help. http://www.equinemedsurg.com/articles/equine-summer-eczema-horse-summer-itch-fly-control/

    I thought I had a couple of horses with summer allergies, but after several years of treating allergies, I found this article. Since then I have successfully controlled their issues with the advice from this article.

    I would definitely get your equine vet involved at this point. They can advise you on if it is actual allergies, or something else.