About animals

Biting horses: how to deal with them


Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) in the fetal area, or colloquially “biting midges,” “squats,” is an extremely common skin disease of horses in all equestrian clubs, and especially in the wet season.

In most cases, dermatitis is recorded on paired limbs, but there may be a variety of options for its manifestation - one, all four, diagonal, etc.

It is believed that if a horse has white marks on its legs, then this increases the chances of getting sick. With superficial dermatitis, the skin of the affected area turns red, peels, crackes and crusts, and the hair may even fall out in places. If there are few such “tricks” on the put region and they are no more than 1 cm in diameter, then there is usually no swelling of the limb and lameness. Therefore, this stage of biting midges is not always promptly detected and treated, especially if the horse lives without daily hygiene procedures (cleaning, loosening, etc.).

In advanced cases, ignoring biting midges becomes almost impossible. When the skin cracks are so deep and wide and affect almost the entire flexion surface of the put, this causes the horse a lot of soreness, and it will necessarily begin to limp. The affected areas (and sometimes almost the entire limb) swell and become covered with dense crusts, from under which sticky exudate periodically oozes, sometimes even with an admixture of pus and blood. In the future, if this stage is also left without proper attention, the skin around the pathological focus thickens, becomes inactive, various growths and calluses appear, which is a characteristic sign of verrucous dermatitis.

Of course, not everywhere the problem is so acute, and only a few animals are affected at a number of stables, however, in some cases, doctors have to deal with the mass spread of the disease in a short period of time.

Nature of the disease

In general, there can be many reasons for the occurrence of putative dermatitis in a horse. If we take massive cases of biting midges, then in the first place it is worth suspecting the infectious and parasitic nature of the disease: trichophytosis or microsporia (lichen), ticks, helminth larvae. If the horse is affected only unpigmented (white) areas of the limbs, then we can assume a genetic or immuno-mediated type of disease.

It is not uncommon for a skin tumor to be taken for a mokret - a sarcoid or an old scar, a wound. However, no matter how we try to continue to continue the list of such obvious "medical" problems, he will still lose the reasons associated with the maintenance and work of the horse. Of course, unsatisfactory zoohygienic conditions in our time are more and more rare in the stables, but even in super-modern complexes there are still enough “favorable” factors for the development of biting midges. Moreover, while no one argues about the predisposing role of moisture and dirt in recreational levadas, it’s not so simple with our influence.

Is purity the key to health?

In practice, cleanliness of the legs does not always benefit the horse and excessive zeal of owners who wash the horse’s legs 2 times a day to shine with brushes and shampoos leads to much worse consequences than simply not washed away dirt.

The fact is that the skin on the caudal (back) surface of the put on the horse is thin and elastic, on its surface there is a special protective lipid (fat) layer. In many horse breeds, this area is also protected by long brush hair. Frequent washing removes the lipid layer, while the skin dries up and cracks, exactly like people's hands from washing dishes or washing frequently. But this is not all, imagine that with such dry skin a horse goes every day to work in an arena or parade ground, covered with abrasive material - sand, wood chips, sawdust. In fact, the horse's limbs are still regularly peeled regularly! It is easy to guess that over time the skin from such contact will become so dry and weaken that deeper cracks and wounds will appear on the site of scuffs, so that infection with banal microflora from the environment will not take long. Problems will be added if, in addition, the horse’s legs are constantly smeared with cosmetic and therapeutic agents, most of which, if they get on damaged skin, cause swelling and inflammation.

Inventiveness of self-medication

As for diagnostics and treatment, often, if biting midges appear in a non-aggressive form - in the form of single small dry crusts or sores, the owners try not to go deep into anything and seek medical treatment on their own. At the stables there will always be "experienced and experienced people" ready to share miraculous recipes for all occasions. What didn’t they even think of putting on the horses legs, starting from alcohol extracts from herbs, antibacterial and antifungal ointments and hypertonic solutions of salts and ending with “charged” water or healing mud. The complexity of some of these "stable" mixtures can be envied by any experienced pharmacist with experience. Some particularly advanced owners are not too lazy to even engage in urine therapy. As for the results, sometimes, despite this, to put it mildly, strange treatment, some horses still manage to recover. This mainly refers, of course, to simple wounds, which, most likely, could have passed on their own, without any of our intervention. However, in most animals, the problem after such treatment does not disappear anywhere, but only catastrophically exacerbated.

Aggressive form

Considering that it is customary to consult a doctor only in the advanced stage of the disease, when the horse “reaches” the extremely aggressive form of biting midges, it’s almost impossible to figure out what was the root cause for it. In this case, doctors approach the examination comprehensively. Special tests from the affected area may be needed - scrapings for parasites, crops for bacteria and fungi with the selection of effective drugs for treatment. General blood tests and a skin biopsy are sometimes required, if the doctor has reason to believe that biting midges are just a local manifestation of a systemic disease (contact allergy, autoimmune vasculitis, photosensitivity in liver disease).

Tell another

The treatment approach, in general, boils down to the need to eliminate the root cause. If this is an infection - for example, lichen, then the introduction of a vaccine in a therapeutic dose is required, as well as local application of antifungal agents. However, it is worth recalling that it is impossible to self-medicate for any infectious problem, since many diseases, including lichen, are dangerous for several animal species and humans. Perhaps your horse has been infected by a cat or dog, or even a cow, a goat, and in this case all animals will need to be treated and vaccinated at the same time, not forgetting to protect the environment. The same treatment approach should be followed with tick-borne infestation.

Conditions of detention and work

If the problem of biting midges is related to the conditions of keeping and working the horse, then first of all it is necessary to pay attention to the soil on which it works, as well as to the litter in the stall. Sometimes, for the duration of the entire treatment, it will be better to transfer the horse from work in the arena to walk along dry forest paths, and in the absence of such conditions - just a step on the asphalt. As for the stall, it is important to consider that some sawdust obtained from building or furniture factories may contain paint and varnish compounds, fragments of fiberglass, which can cause contact allergies. It is not difficult to check, such sawdust has a characteristic smell, and when kneading in the hand cause itching and tingling.

No water! or deal with the problem

Also, during the treatment, it is necessary to cancel the washing with water and the application of any therapeutic and cosmetic gels, ointments, solutions for the care of tendons and hooves. If necessary, you can clean the limbs in the area of ​​the put with only petroleum jelly or baby oil. To remove dry crusts painlessly, they can also be pre-softened with oil. In the same cases, when biting midges, on the contrary, look more like weeping eczema, it is possible to clean the areas of crusts with aqueous solutions of drying and astringents - boric acid, drank tea. Traditional disinfectant solutions are also suitable: 0.05% aqueous chlorhexidine and 0.5% povidone iodine (1% concentration may be too aggressive when applied daily to the skin). In this case, one must be very careful and not overdo it, so as not to dry the skin around the wounds.

After cleansing, the surface of the wounds and cracks is lubricated with either a softening ointment (Chelosan, Zorka, etc.), if the dermatitis is mostly dry, or a drying ointment (Zinc, Gamabiol, etc.), if it prevails on the leg exudative phenomena.

Local use of antibacterial and fungal ointments should always be justified by previous laboratory studies, especially their systemic use. The frequency of treatments per day depends on the condition of the horse's limbs, but, as a rule, it is enough two times, in the absence of contact with moisture and dirt. If this is difficult to achieve for any reason, you will have to process it more often.

You also need to think about protective dressings with gel substances or use special greasy creams. An ideal product in the domestic market is a protective cream for milking “Zorka”. A thick layer of cream applied to the cleaned surface 20-30 minutes before going to the arena or outside is in most cases a sufficient protective measure.

The duration of treatment of putovial dermatitis is very variable and depends on the primary cause, prescription and severity of the process. In some horses, the condition improves markedly only with environmental correction, the elimination of irritating rubs and ointments, while treatment of other cases can take two or three months.

As for autoimmune lesions, and especially on the white limbs, ointments, as well as local injections of corticosteroids are effective, but such treatment should always be carried out only in conjunction with a specialist - a veterinarian. ZM

Reasons for the appearance

The first thing to be reminded is that part of the body of any horses can be affected by biting midges. The parasitic microorganisms that provoke the development of this disease can be in the ground, transmitted to the horse through flies and other insects, the vital activity of which is directly related to blood. In addition, an already sick horse can share biting midges with a healthy individual.

One of the biting midges Dermatophiluscongolensis located in the epidermis and microflora of many ungulates. And while it is not located on the skin of the horse, it is not considered harmful and dangerous health.

But in addition to this, veterinarians identify a list of factors provoking the appearance of biting midges and its development:

  • Weak immune defense of the horse. If until now the horse has suffered another disease, its immunity is not able to withstand the new "virus", the natural defense of the epidermis is significantly reduced. You can lead to such a drop in protection by uncontrolled intake of drugs and antibiotics.
  • Long stay in wet soil. Under the influence of moisture, the skin of the animal becomes softer and more accessible for exposure to pathogenic microorganisms. If before that they lived freely on the body of the animal, then under the influence of moisture they get into the subcutaneous layer and begin to parasitize. Excessive sweating of the horse can lead to such consequences. Its owner must constantly monitor dry skin.
  • Cracks and scratches on the skin of the limbs. Through open wounds, the microorganism easily penetrate the body of the animal and begin to conduct harmful vital activities.
  • Parasites, infectious diseases. If the horse is exposed to helminths, ticks, depriving, the development of biting midges is provoked, which is treated only by eliminating the prerequisites for it.
  • Incorrect personal hygiene. Horse stables must comply with sanitary standards. A horse cannot be washed more often than the norm, which overdries the skin and makes it less protected from parasites.
  • Genetics. In the case when the horse’s parents were often exposed to biting midges, the offspring will also suffer from this disease. Then biting midges will appear on bright unpigmented areas of the skin.

Symptoms of the disease

Before you begin searching for answers to the question "how to deal with biting midges," you need to determine the stage of development of the disease according to the picture of symptoms. The sooner such a problem is diagnosed, the easier and faster the process of treatment and recovery of the animal will be. The primary locations of the disease are grandmothers and calcaneal tubercles. Here you need to look for the first signs of biting midges.

At the initial stage, biting midges suggest a number of symptoms:

  • hair falls out at the location of the disease,
  • redness of the skin appears here,
  • the skin is peeling from excessive drying,
  • the lesion is covered with a film.

Initially, this disease does not harm the animal, but after some time it brings painful sensations. And only when the affected area becomes 5 cm in diameter, the symptoms of biting midges become apparent.

The following symptoms appear:

  • the horse begins to limp
  • cracks in the legs appear, it deepens,
  • crusts form on the legs, from under which sticky discharge is noticeable,
  • limb with biting midfoot swells,
  • in rare cases, blood and pus may appear.

After a while, the skin in this place becomes denser, becomes rough. After this, outgrowths, calluses may appear at the site of the biting midges, which will be delivered to the horse not only discomfort, but also pain.

How to treat biting midges in horses

Self-medication and refusal of medical care can lead to disaster. The animal needs help on its own, of course, but in partnership with such a veterinarian. Only such a specialist will be able to identify the diagnosis and the degree of development of biting midges, respectively, to select drugs. As soon as the owner of the horse crept in doubts about such a disease, you should immediately seek the help of a veterinarian.

In addition, from the development of the disease, you can insure the animal in the following way:

  1. It is forbidden to wash the horse’s feet with plain water. Contamination and possible scabs must be removed using baby soap or petroleum jelly. Thus, the skin will become softer, and painful symptoms will become less noticeable. Often, horse owners confuse biting midges with weeping eczema, in this case, the wounds are washed with a prepared solution of water with an astringent, but do not dry out the skin.
  2. The horse stall should have a clean litter., since non-compliance with hygiene rules provokes an allergy. In turn, allergic reactions can lead to the development of biting midges. Regularly check stall and soil.
  3. After the diagnosis, only the veterinarian will be able to choose the appropriate option of antifungal, antibacterial ointments. Any folk remedies and home treatment can only exacerbate the situation.

Depending on how much the disease has worsened, the duration of treatment may vary.In the early stages, the disease can be cured only by creating favorable conditions for keeping the horse. Complex stages of biting midges can be treated for 2-3 months.

What it is

The shellfish in horses is popularly called the form of dermatitis due to skin damage by actinomycetes Dermatophilus congolensis. The natural habitat of bacteria is soil.

Favorable conditions for the development of the disease occur with the following factors:

  • Weakened immunity. The body of an animal after a long illness or infection is susceptible to lesions, including actinomycetes.
  • High humidity. Therefore, biting midges on horses appear more often in the autumn period or in the “wet” winter. Constantly moisturized skin becomes vulnerable and susceptible to infection.
  • Foot scratches. When the skin is damaged, bacteria enter the wound and provoke the disease.
  • Animal Hygiene. Regular washing and cleaning the mount of dirt reduces the risk of developing the disease, but frequent washing can cause overdrying and damage to the skin.
  • Parasitic infections. Ticks, lichen, flies and other helminths can be carriers of infection.
  • Genetic predisposition. Smooth-haired horses with white legs are more likely to get biting midges than other species. If the pet’s parents were carriers of the infection, then the animal is likely to be affected.

Prevention is the key to health

It is much easier to prevent the appearance and development of biting midges in a horse than to treat the disease later.

To do this, it is enough to minimize all risk factors:

  • INLevada, where horses are taken for walks in the fresh air, must have dry soil. After rains or other precipitation it is better to wait with a walk.
  • If the horse has dirty limbs after walking, they are washed with water from a bucket or hose. Be sure to dry your feet with a towel after this.
  • In the stall should be a litter for the horse, which is always kept dry and clean.
  • Before walking, the horse's legs are treated with castor oil, petroleum jelly, to protect the skin from dirt. But before conducting such procedures, you need to make sure your legs are dry and clean.

As soon as the first signs of the disease appear, you should immediately seek help and advice from a veterinarian. The primary measures in this case are as follows: treatment with a warm, mild solution of manganese, cutting the hair, drying the skin, applying a typical zinc ointment. Warm poultices of bran will be useful. If the wounds secrete fluid, they need to be dried with coal powder. Hemp oil is intended to soften the crust.

Signs and Symptoms

The first symptoms appear in the area of ​​the headstock and calcaneal tubercles. If you do not start treatment on time, the affected area may increase and spread over the entire surface of the legs.

Worries if:

  • In the area of ​​the calcaneal tubercles, stubble falls out.
  • The skin turned red and swollen, signs of inflammation appeared.
  • At the site of the lesion, the skin began to crack and cracks formed.

If treatment is not started, then the disease will progress: active inflammation will continue under the crust, a sticky, pale yellow liquid or pus will be released through the cracks, which can cause lameness in the pet.

Diagnosis of biting midges

Diagnosis of the disease is carried out according to clinical signs, a medical history and study of the conditions of the animal. If symptoms of the disease occur, infectious dermatitis, vascular inflammation, peeling and contact dermatitis must be excluded. To do this, a specialist must take soil samples and bacterial plaque on wounds for laboratory research.

What to treat

Treatment of biting midges in horses must begin at the first sign of illness. As soon as you notice the first foci of inflammation, then:

  1. Pay attention to animal hygiene. Thoroughly scrub and rinse the affected area, wipe with clean gauze. For washing, you can use shampoos with antiseptic properties that are in veterinary stores. When working, proceed carefully so as not to peel scabs and crusts.
  2. Cut the hair at the site of damage, as bacteria can dwell on individual hairs.
  3. Disinfect the wound. Rinse affected areas with a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
  4. Dry the wound using zinc ointment or liniment synthomycin. Ointments will help to steam and remove scab from the skin. A heavily weeping damage can be sprinkled with coal powder.
  5. Apply ointment from biting midges in horses, for example, Dermabion, and apply a tight, tight bandage. It will protect the animal from reinfection and will contribute to wound healing. The change of dressing should be regular, until the flow of fluid stops.
  6. After recovery handle stall and change the litter. In case of hygiene, re-infection is possible.
  7. Use antibacterial agents with the spread of infection. For example, Penicillin, Norocillin. The type, dose and method of using the antibiotic can be determined by a specialist depending on the breed, weight and age of the horse.

Is it dangerous

Bats are not a dangerous disease, but its spread through the body of the pet, which is called "rain burn", affects health. Self-medication will help relieve symptoms, but a specialist will be needed for complete treatment.

How to treat a horse and how, only the owner of the animal determines.


  • Balanced diet. With proper nutrition, the animal's immunity is strong and is able to protect the pet from any misfortunes.
  • Active movement. A mobile lifestyle improves blood circulation in the extremities, stagnant processes are eliminated, and disease resistance is strengthened.
  • Proper animal hygiene. Regular cleaning and skin care of the horse is the best protection against biting midges.

It is worth remembering such important points as changing the litter of infected individuals, destroying used dressings and gloves, as well as disinfecting individual cleaning brushes.

Veterinarians can vaccinate your horse against dermatomycosis, which will protect the horse from some forms of dermatitis. Do not refuse such measures, they increase the chances of avoiding infection.

Proper hygiene, good nutrition and decent care will allow the horse to please you with victories for a long time.

Rain burn

A variety of biting midges can be a disease such as a rain burn. In this case, biting eczema can affect the entire body of the horse, and not just its limbs. Most often, such biting midges choose their horse’s back, manifesting themselves with specific bald spots, visually similar to ringworm.

The name of the biting midge subspecies speaks for itself. Most often, the horse is exposed to the disease after a long stay in the rain, having weak immunity. Rainwater robs the skin of a protective layer of fat, overdries it, which is a prerequisite for dermatophyllosis. In general, the rest of the symptoms are identical with the signs of biting midges.