What is it
Mange is a skin condition which usually occurs on the fetlock area but can spread to other parts of the body. It is generally seen in the winter and symptoms will disappear in the summer. There are several different types but all are highly contagious!
- Severe irritation
- Skin is red
- Oozing serum which forms into hard crusts
- Hair loss
- Legs can swell
- Maybe lameness
- In extreme conditions the skin can form into thickened folds
- Due to the irritation the horse will rub on fences, stables, trees etc and may roll, kick or stamp.
- Horses can lose weight
Mange is caused by microscopic mites which are transmitted from horse to horse or between rugs, grooming equipment, tack or humans. The mites irritate the horses skin which causes them to itch. Long winter coats that are dirty and damp will encourage the development and spread of the mites. Sick horses or those with vitamin and mineral deficiency are more susceptible. If open sores develop there is also the risk of secondary infection.
The vet can take a deep skin scrape and analyse using a microscope.
Infected horses must be isolated and infected bedding burnt. Wear gloves to handle a horse with mange, wash all equipment and rugs. There are specific mange powders, sprays and washes available.
Ensure your horse receives all the required vitamins and minerals. Having separate tack and grooming equipment will reduce the chance of spread. Check legs regularly in the winter especially in horses with feathers.
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