How do I treat scratches in horses? | Solutions from Banixx Wound & Hoof Care

scratches in horsesTo begin, ensure the area is free from dirt and debris. Do not pick off scabs if they are present. Saturate the area well with Banixx and keep the horse in a dry, clean environment for as long as possible. Treatment should be administered minimally twice daily, morning and evening. One cannot over-medicate with Banixx™. Since Banixx does not sting or burn and has zero odor, it is well-tolerated by your horse.

If the horse has to go into an area where re-infection may occur, keep the area covered; this is easier said than done, so, if not possible, flush the area well with Banixx™ upon return.

Customer Testimonial

"Banixx is a wonderful product. I have a horse in my barn that gets scratches and rain rot every year from all the fungus here in PA. This year she had none! We used Banixx as part of her normal grooming routine and she was free of the normal yearly problems. I've recommended Banixx to all my clients especially those with "high white" and bald faced animals." - Pam Kister, via Facebook

The term "Scratches"  refers to a chronic and progressive equine dermatitis that infects the deep layers of skin in the heel and pastern of horses and cattle. It is known by many names including: greasy heal, mud fever, dew poisoning, cracked heels or equine pastern dermatitis. The conditions for its development are primarily damp, muddy pastures and constant wetting and drying of the skin in this area of the leg and hoof. Scratches in horses is more specific to horses with white legs or socks because unpigmented skin is more susceptible to chaffing and abrasion, opening the way for infection. Equine scratches can be a real problem with show horses who generally receive more baths than their pasture counterparts and who tend to work in rings where large amounts of manure have intermingled with the sand base.

Horse Scratches is a fungus, Sporotrichum schenki, that can have a bacterial component in more advanced stages. The fungus thrives in organic matter and finds its way into breaks in the horse's skin. It begins as a small pinkish ulceration in the plantar pastern and develops into sores with black crusty scabs that can ooze, cause hair loss and edema. If left untreated, bacteria can invade inner tissues and even vascular and lymphatic vessels. When this occurs, the whole lower leg may swell and can often lead to lameness. Other sources of irritation that lead to scratches include: insects and parasites; cracked skin that is continually aggravated by the horse's motion; excessive washing of the legs; feathers or long fetlocks that hold moisture; sand/soil grit.

There are different approaches to resolving horses' Scratches, including the use of harsh chemical mixes. The danger with this approach is that in the case of drug or chemical treatments, it is necessary to eradicate 100% of the infectious cells or the organisms will mutate and thus not be affected. Given how difficult it can be to eradicate Scratches in horses, it is safe to assume this happens more often than not.

A more benign and successful approach to horse Scratches is to carefully clip the hair away from the infected area, taking care not to break the skin. Then carefully wash the areas thoroughly with a mild soap. Pat the areas dry and then apply a gentle, topical treatment, such as Banixx™, that will not burn or sting and will promote healing. The removal of scabs is a much debated subject. Banixx™ debrides diseased tissue, hence removal of scabs is not necessary. The scabs will fall off in a matter of days.

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Efforts to avoid Scratches in horses include:

  • Horses should be kept off the wet pastures and housed in a clean, dry stall.
  • Check your horse's legs frequently for any early signs of infection and use Banixx™ as a preventative.
  • Dry your horse's legs before putting him up in a stall.
  • Avoid early morning turnout when there is heavy dew or frost.
  • Do not use wraps or boots or anything that will retain moisture around the infected areas and be sure to keep each horse's boots (and grooming equipment) separate.

A portion of the profits from Banixx™ sales goes to animal welfare and rescue organizations

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Banixx™ Benefits

  • No steroids, no antibiotics
  • No odor to alarm your pet
  • No color, non-staining
  • Safe around the eye and mouth
  • Non-irritating, no sting or burn
  • Long shelf-life, temperature tolerant
  • Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial