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How do I treat scratches in horses?

Horse Scratches is caused by a fungus, but may, in more advanced cases, have a bacterial component. With both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, Banixx works quickly and painlessly to treat scratches in horses. To treat with Banixx, saturate the area well and keep the horse in a dry, clean environment for as long as possible. Treatment for horse scratches should be administered minimally twice daily, morning and evening. Do not pick off the scabs, this is painful for your horse and they do serve as some protection against further infection.  A few days of Banixx consistent treatment will cause these scabs to easily slough off. One cannot over-medicate with Banixx. Since Banixx does not sting or burn and has zero odor, it is extremely well-tolerated by your horse.

If your horse has to go into an area where re-infection may occur, try to keep the affected area protected with a layer of gauze, soaked in Banixx, and secured by VetWrap or Duct tape.  This may be easier said than done, so, if not possible, be sure to flush the area well with Banixx upon return to a drier environment whether it be it a stall or a dry lot. 

A success story from Lindsey W and Slim – Scratches in Horses resolved in short order!

Slim, a 17 year old grey Thoroughbred cross, recently got a case of equine scratches. Lindsey, Slim's owner, was only able to treat Slim every alternate day with Banixx for his scratches. As you can see in the photos (Days 1, 7 and 14), the results speak for themselves. Note how along with a rapid reduction in redness and irritation, there is also a marked reduction in swelling in the pastern/ankle area.

While a general recomendation for treating Scratches in horses is twice per day, morning and evening, we realize that busy schedules do not always allow for this. Lindsey now keeps an eye open for any sign of redness or puffiness around Slim’s pasterns and is right there with Banixx at any suspicion of trouble!

Other Customer Testimonials

"One of the horses had Scratches, we soaked  gauze pads with Banixx and wrapped it the morning, the scabs were already falling off! Banixx is amazing!"  Helen from Freedom Village USA , New York

"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

Scratches on Horse - Day One using Banixx
Scratches on Horses - Day 7 using Banix
Equine Scratches - Day 14 using Banixx
horse scratches resolved with Banixx for Slim the horse

What are Scratches and how do i treat Scratches &/or prevent Scratches?

scratches in horses

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 prevent 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.

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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



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