Summer Skin Health in Horses

Summer can place an additional burden on our horses skin health. Factors in the environment change with increased insect activity, pollens and fungal spores. Extra support for your horses immune system from Herdleader supplements can give both you and your horse a more comfortable summer. 

One of the key ingredients is nicotinamide, a type of vitamin B3, which is known to have a specific effect on the immune system within the skin. Nicotinamide has been known to reduce the production of histamine and to improve the skin barrier by increasing the amount of natural fats in the skin’s surface. All our products are easy to administer and have no known side-effects when used topically or orally at the recommended dosages. They are most effective if it is started before the fly season.

What to look for

Itchy skin that your horse rubs at to relieve the unpleasant sensation. If the mane and tail are affected and itchy - then horses may rub until hairs are broken, developing the classic "rat tail”.

Different Substances Affecting Horses

Under normal living conditions horses are engulfed in dust, mould spores and other foreign substances all day long. In pastures where horses graze there are many different airborne proteins that could mean your horse needs extra support to maintain a healthy skin.  Such triggers leading to the need for support are commonly pollens (often trees), grass, foods (grains and hay) and insect bites.

Insect Bite Irritation

Typically insect bite irritation is a condition in equines caused by the bites of Culicoides midges. It may be found in any horses and ponies but  especially in the warmer regions of the world.

The irritation develops at the sites where the insects feed. Mainly these are the mane and tail and dorsal midline. Ventral midline irritation may also occur irritation around the ears and head are also common. These irritations result in itching, which results in rubbing and considerable self-trauma.

Testing for the causes of skin irritations in horses

Skin irritations are diagnosed by the owner's description of the problem, the clinical signs in the horse and tests such as skin scrapings, biopsies and cultures in order to rule out other conditions like parasites, fungus or bacteria.

If all the signs point to a reaction to a foreign substance then specific testing can be performed to identify the substance and to confirm the diagnosis and assist with support.

Practical tests that you can do for yourself

Noting anything that comes into contact with your horse's skin such as bedding, horse care products (e.g. shampoos) and tack care products (e.g. leather cleaner)

Using dietary trials to determine if something your horse is eating (grass, hay, grain, treats, supplements) is causing a reaction

Moving your horse to another location to avoid adverse substances specific to the original geographic location

Don’t assume your horses allergy is insect bite irritation -pay attention to the other possible causes