Monday, May 20, 2013

Fly Season: It's Coming

I thought this winter would never end - and suddenly it did. Pretty much skipping spring, we're already battling summer bugs out at my barn. Foxie (AKA The Princess) is not a bug fan, so let's get down to the business of battling flying pests of all sorts.

Non-horse people, seriously. 

There are a lot of products out there to help you take on the pests -I'm covering fly masks, sprays, spot on's, sheets and boots. There are also products like fly predators that can really help you get ahead of the fly population. I've never used bands or anything else from above, so I will leave that for someone more knowledgeable.

Things to keep in mind: Spring and summer is mud season. Keep your fly products clean and in good condition. Check yourself and your horse often for ticks - that means ears, legs, tails bone and the base of the mane for your pony! Lyme Disease is nasty in horses and you don't want it, either! Keep an eye out for hives or other signs of buggy distress in your horse, too, and try to keep stalls and paddocks clean of manure so they attract and provide breeding grounds for fewer flies.

When riding, don't forget to wear sunscreen (my bad, this week - Ouch!) and bug spray. If it's bad, I wear old breeches and spray them with bug spray, since the mosquitoes can often bite through the fabric, and itchy  legs and knees are the worst!

Click down for the run down on products to help your horsey friend!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Case of the Funks

Yep - it's spring, which means that I've started suspiciously inspecting my horse for "funky" spots. Funks can include (with descriptions borrowed from The Horse - best site ever for reference!)

ScratchesBreaks in the skin lead to bacterial and/or fungal causing scaly patches, hair loss, and inflammation on the legs called scratches (aka grease heel or mud fever). Causes include contact allergies and irritants, infestation with Chorioptes mites (leg mange), and malformations with the lymphatic vessels, etc. Secondary infections are often worsened by exposure to moisture in mud or pastures. Draft breeds and other horses with feathered legs might be most susceptible.

Rain RotAlso known as rain scold or dermatophilosis, rain rot is skin disease caused by the opportunistic bacterium Dermatophilus congolesis, which thrives in moist conditions and enters through damaged skin (think bites or chaffing). Rain rot is usually evident over the horse’s neck, back, and croup, but can also spread to the legs. The skin crusts and raised tufts of serum-matted hair, called paintbrush lesions, form. The tufts usually shed, leaving hairless patches. Rain rot is contagious.

HivesHives are round, raised wheals over the body that cause the hair to stand up. They can range from the size of a nickel to several inches in diameter and can cover part or most of the body. A breakout of hives is usually related to air-borne allergens (e.g., tree, bush, weed, or grass pollen; mold; dust; etc.); ingested allergens (e.g., feed ingredients); or vaccination or medication reactions. A breakout usually isn’t painful but might itch.

Other ailments include warts, ringworm and sweet itch. The above three are the ones I have experience with, so I'm going to stick with what I know. As per always, please contact your vet with your concerns - I'm not one! 

Click to hop over to my (rather long, sorry for the novel) list of tips and tricks!