What Is That? How To Identify Your Horse’s Skin Conditions

If you've recently purchased your first horse, you've probably educated yourself on the care and treatment your new equine family member will require, including all the feed and supplements it will need. However, you might not have familiarized yourself with the various skin ailments your horse may encounter throughout its life. Those skin ailments will require your attention as soon as they develop, so it's important that you know what you're looking for. Here are four common skin ailments your horse may develop during the course of it's life.


Sarcoids are a type of equine tumor that develops on the skin. Unlike equine warts, that stay away once they're removed, sarcoids have a tendency to return – even after they're surgically removed. Most sarcoids are caused by the bovine papilloma virus, and they can be extremely infectious. If your horse develops a raised lesion on its skin, you should have it checked by a veterinarian.

Mud Fever

If your horse will spend time in rainy, or moist conditions, you should be aware of a skin condition known as rain rot. Rain rot is caused by Dermatophilus congolensis spores, which develop into a bacterial infection once your horses skin is exposed to extreme wetness or moisture. Once the infection is active, flies can carry it to other nearby horses. If your horse develops raised bumps in areas where flies usually bite, such as the rump, neck, or ears, you should cleanse the area with equine benzoyl peroxide solution. It's also important that you avoid touching the area with your bare skin, as the infection can spread to humans.


If you have a light-skinned horse, and it spends time in the sun, it could get sunburned. This is particularly true if your horse is outside when the sun is at its brightest. Equine sunburn usually presents itself with inflammation and redness in the affected area. If your horse develops a sunburn, apply aloe gel to the skin. The aloe will reduce the inflammation and alleviate the discomfort. To prevent sunburn, try to keep your horse in a shared area during the hottest part of the day.


When it comes to equine ringworm, don't look for worms. Ringworm is actually caused by a fungus that's found in the dirt. If your horse gets ringworm, it will develop round, crusty scabs that will join together to form a cluster. Contact your veterinarian for natural health care products like an anti-fungal shampoo that you can use to treat the problem. Avoid contact with your bare skin, and keep your horse away from other animals until the problem is resolved.