In the Night Farm…Your Ride is Here.

Scratch That

Well, I thought I had Consolation’s itching issue under control.  She certainly seemed normal when brushed and worked from the ground.  She still has no hives or bumps or scabs or leisons, just relatively thin hair over the affected area (not bald spots, but shorter and rougher haircoat).

And yet, yesterday’s ride revealed that she is clearly still very itchy — driven to distraction, in fact.  She seems to want to move out, but can’t bear to trot more than a few strides without slinging her head around as if to whack a horsefly, or nearly bucking.  She moves along with her back hunched up in discomfort  It gets worse as the ride progresses (and the area gets warmer under her tack?), but the skin does not appear to change.  The behavior continues whether I’m mounted or not.

Over the past month, I’ve tried anti-fungal shampoos, Listerine soaks, and livestock dust.  I’ve double-dosed with Ivermectin and removed the only new item in her diet (Strategy).  I’ve washed and triple-rinsed her tack and brushes.  She already gets flax as part of her Show N Go supplement.  She lives in the open air, has access to shelter, and is in a largely dry and sunny climate.  Her skin doesn’t seem dry.  I considered the season (estrous issues?) but she is obviously itchy, not just ouchy or grouchy.

I’ve scoured the internet for ideas and come up empty.  Nothing seems to match her symptoms.  I’m at the point of calling her vet again to see if he thinks a fungal culture or somesuch might be in order.  On the one hand, I hate to fork over a few hundred bucks for a farm visit and lab tests, but on the other hand, I hate watching more time and endurance rides go by without being able to participate!

In the meantime, I am trying to let gratitude outweigh frustration.  At least I have another horse to ride, and more beyond that to train, while we get this resolved.

But still, please please please, can’t we find a solution quickly?

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6 responses

  1. Aemi

    Maybe an allergy to your pad, or something you washed it with?

    April 21, 2012 at 8:08 am

    • Hi Aemi, I’m pretty sure that’s not it. It happens bareback (regardless of what pants I wear), with different pads, with pads that have absolutely no soap in them, and with the same pads in which she has done thousands of miles. Sigh.

      April 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

  2. Kathy

    Tamara, I found this site (based on the hunched back symptom you mentioned):

    http://www.horse-canada.com/archives/what-a-pain-in-the-back/

    and thought it might be helpful.

    Good luck, Kathy

    April 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    • Thanks, Kathy. I have indeed wondered if there’s more than just itching going on here. Still exploring…

      April 22, 2012 at 6:52 am

  3. One of my sons has had trouble with fungal rashes for years–ever since he played football and had to wear shoulder pads. I remember I was certain the rash had been caused by the gross pads (sweaty and of course worn by some other kid before my son wore them) but the doctor told me the constant chafing on the skin was more of an issue than the cleanliness of the pads. My son mentioned that he’d never had any visible chafing, but the doctor said just enough of the skin was being compromised that it allowed the infection to get started. The itching nearly drove F. crazy, and the rash was one of the main reasons why he decided not to play football any more.

    We tried a couple of different kinds of prescription creams, two rounds of oral medication (and I don’t think there are many systemic antifungal medications out there that aren’t horribly hard on the body) and finally after about a year we sort of gave up. It still flares (four years after he gave up playing football). I suspect he may grow out of it as soon as he’s finally through puberty, but who knows. We’ve tried some home remedies, but the only “natural” thing that’s really seemed to knock it back is sunlight, and I imagine your horse has plenty of that.

    Of course people aren’t horses, but I imagine that some things might be similar when it comes to stuff like this. I know you’re a conscientious rider and that you use excellent equipment, but I wonder if the normal chafing/sweating associated with tack (even great-fitting tack) might have caused a similar situation. The doctor told me years ago that the infuriating thing about fungal infections is that the body sometimes has trouble recognizing that these infections are going on, and therefore doesn’t bother to mount a defense.

    I’ve heard many folks sing the praises of something called Vetricyin, but I’ve only used it on wounds (it’s supposed to be good for fungal infections as well, though, and it’s not something you have to worry about them ingesting). I also knew someone whose mare had terrible reactions to mosquito bites (think golf-ball sized swellings) who put her mare on oral MSM powder every spring. It was the only thing she tried that seemed to knock back that reaction.

    Hope you find something that works soon!

    April 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    • Thanks, Fetlock! That’s fascinating, and I’ll certainly bear it in mind. I hope this isn’t anything that serious, but you never know and what you’re saying makes perfect sense. Also, I hope your son’s trouble clears up soon. This might sound strange, but have you looked into removing grain (especially gluten grains) from his diet for a while? Doing so can address a surprising range of issues, including fungal problems, in humans. A 2-4 week trial should be enough to let you know if it’s going to help — just take care not to replace gluten grains with all those processed substitutes that are out there, because they are made of other carbohydrate that is, as far as the body is concerned, just more sugar…which equals fungus food.

      April 22, 2012 at 6:57 am

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