Now it’s that period of the year where we hold on to the last days of summer before we are ushered into the crisp days of fall. In the fall season, the humidity is on the high side leaving your horse dehydrated and the temperature reduced at night. The insects in your horse’s barn are aware that the fall season is coming and their time is coming to an end. So they spend their remaining time irritating your favorite horse. Before you know what’s going on, your favorite horse has got dandruff everywhere on her body.
Dandruff and Mystery Hair Loss in Horses
Dandruff in horses is similar to that of humans and other animals. Simply defined, dandruff is a type of eczema that causes the sudden shedding of the skin which results to the flaking of dead skin cells. This skin condition mostly affects the horse’s tail and mane but can also affect any part of the horse’s skin. The most important thing to note about dandruff is that it’s an indication of ill health in your horse which could be internal or external. The skin of the horse is his largest organ and the number one indication of his overall health.
What Causes Dandruff and Mystery Hair Loss in Horses?
Dandruff in horses is caused by a number of things. In most cases, dandruff is an itchy appearance that clears up on its own, not a life threatening skin condition but should be taken care of immediately not ignored. Dandruff can bring much discomfort to your horse which contribute to continuous scratching and itching which in turn leads to cuts scrapes, sores, dry patches and at worse the thinning of tail and mane.
Dandruff is said to be dominant in certain breeds such as Thoroughbreds and Arabians. The causes of dandruff in horses work closely to trigger and worsen the condition.
Diet – As far as dandruff and mystery hair loss is concerned, diet is a big deal. It’s possible for your horse develop issues or allergies with some ingredients in the diet and it is also possible for the diet to be deficient of essential nutrients such as omega oil or fat, or be deficient in vitamins that maintain healthy skin and coat. The skin of the organ is the shell responsible for the protection of all biological processes and internal organs so when there’s an off balance inside, it’s possible for your horse to develop dandruff on the outside. Ensure that your horse’s diet contains the required nutrients and vitamins.
Allergies – Like humans, horses also have allergies that are associated with seasons. These allergies can affect the immune system of the horse and cause skin issues. Your horse can even develop allergies from rolling his body in his pasture or rolling on surfaces that cause irritation to his skin.
Hormonal Changes – Any hormonal changes can contribute to skin conditions. This is even seen in humans when hormonal changes causes hives or acne. So hormonal changes or imbalances in horses and humans aren’t different.
Weather – The weather can also contribute to dandruff considering that weather is capable of increasing skin dryness, and dehydrating the horse. In the periods when the humidity kicks through the roof, horses experience more sweating thereby resulting in major water loss. If the water isn’t replenished, the skin and hair becomes dry. Likewise cold and hot temperatures can cause moisture to escape from the surface of the skin. Even winter and wind elements can contribute to irritation on the skin.
Immune System – A weakened immune system overworks the horse’s body thereby making it difficult for the horse to perform efficiently at the cellular level. As stated earlier, the immune system of the horse can be weakened by stress, infection or allergies.
Poor Grooming – Even though your horse will likely run off to the field to roll in the dirt, you still have to groom him very often. Not grooming your horse well enough can cause the buildup of dead skin cells, hair, dirt and even result in bigger conditions such as rain rot, fungus or mild which all contributes to dandruff.
Over Bathing – Over bathing is rated to weather issues. The constant bathing of your horse and drying can cause irritation. While the skin of the horse works to protect the body, the body in turn produces natural oils to keep the skin hydrated. The natural oils keep the skin and hair hydrated and conditioned in other to repel the weather’s elements. While bathing your horse may seem like you want to keep the skin hydrated, the chemical components of the water will actually increase dryness on the skin. Make sure you add body wash or soap in the water so you don’t strip your horse of its natural oils without replenishing it.
Infestation – Infestation is what most horse owners dread. Most horse owners never want to deal with an infestation issue in the horse’s tail or mane. Pests, fleas, and ticks can attach themselves to the neck of your horse and cause dandruff.
Poor fitting Equipment – If you wear any item or piece of tack on your horse and it doesn’t fit right, the result is irritation. An equipment that doesn’t fit well can cause irritation to the horse’s skin. Girths, bridles, winter blankets and halters all fall under this category. The worse is that your horse contributes to the issue by finding ways to relieve the itchiness.
What are the Treatment Options?
While practicing good grooming habit is the key to healthy skin, even the properly groomed horse can develop dandruff. Regardless of the cause of dandruff and mystery hair loss in your horse, Medicated Horse Shampoo and Neem Oil has been proven to overcome all hair loss related causes.