A common horse skin condition, scratches is fairly easy to identify. It appears as cracked, inflamed skin and crusted scabs on a horse's pastern. It occurs when natural skin oils are lost to harsh environmental factors: mud; cold, windy weather; low humidity; frequent bathing. Scratches is painful and subject to bacterial infection. The majority of cases respond to the treatment outlined here. Some severe cases require a systemic antibiotic. If your ministrations yield no improvement in two days or you have concerns, call your veterinarian.
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This article originally appeared in EQUUS 341, March 2006.