Contact information:

Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

October 13, 2009

Any advice on putting a stop to the scratches?

It has cropped back out on the left front, and I'm still working on the left hind. The areas are small, but persistent. I've been doing iodine shampoo scrubs followed by a thick application of antifungal cream/ triple antibiotic / Desitin. In times past this has always worked to clear it in a couple of weeks. I'm on week four on this front leg. Get to where it is looking clear and think I've beat it, two days go by and it's back. If any of you know a highly effective product I'm all ears. Need these scratches cleared and ready for boots in a few weeks as we are planning a weekend rocky trail ride. I need something that takes no prisoners!

We had schooling again tonight and she finally mellowed out and was lowering her head and making happy relaxed horse sounds. It only took 45 minutes vs. an hour to get it done today. Small progress, but I'll take it. ~E.G.


  1. I feel your pain, in a way it's fantastic news that Huck is on stall rest because it's finally allowed me to get a handle on his scratches and kiss it goodbye!

    I really like Nolvasan scrub (chlorhexadine) to use, because it's a mild antiseptic. I use that with these soft bristled brushes that are left over from a surgery scrub. (The advantages of working in a vet hospital.) I find that with these brushes I can slowly over several days get enough pressure to scrub the scabs without making Huck uncomfortable. I use a similar mixture as you do, but have heard really good things about Zephyr's Garden's Anti-Fungal salve. I'm currently involved in a test trial for their new anti-fungal spray and like it alot!

    Call me bad, but when the scratches just get so bad that I can't handle it anymore, I give a little dexamethasone 2mg/mL, 2-3mL orally for a 900-1000# horse. Within a day or two the scratches are GONE. A friend suggested it as it works for her horse that has numerous skin problems. It's not something to do frequently - it IS a steroid! - but when you're at wits end, it's a blessing.


  2. Forgot to add that if I know I'm going to be going through yucky terrain or tall coarse grass while riding, I'll liberally apply Desitin to Huck's pasterns. I find the Desitin has better staying power than anything else I've tried.

    Typically, by the time my ride is over (2-3 hours) the Desitin has wore off, but Huck's pasterns look pristine.


  3. Our vet recommends this:

    1. Keep the feet/legs DRY for at least 6 hours out of 24. Not an easy task in the Swamplands where we live, but overnighting in a dry stall works perfectly.

    2. Apply athlete's foot powder (desinex is what we usually use) liberally to the area each day.

    Scratches are fungal, so you make the legs an unfriendly place for fungus. The other ointments and stuff will work, but they allow the skin to stay moist, whereas dryness is the enemy of fungus.

    There, now you know what I know. Also, I'm thrilled that my black-legged mare doesn't get them (knock wood) because our white-legged mare gets them really badly!

  4. well, i know this will sound bad, but it's not and it worked great for me when my horses got it at a barn once...

    chlorine bleach! It MIGHT sting a bit, depends on how bad it is. But it works great! we took a thistle brush and scrubbed it with with chlorine bleach.

    We also clipped the area so it would not get wet/muddy...

    Good Luck!