How To Treat Scratches in Horse

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If your horse has scratches, they can often be a hassle to treat. Not only do you have to clean them and keep them sanitized, but in many cases, you also need to apply ointments, salves, or even bandages until the skin is healed. 

Thankfully, there are some simple steps that you can take to ensure your horse’s scratches heal properly and quickly – no matter the size of the wound! In this blog post, we will look at ways to effectively treat scratches on horses — from those minor nicks and scrapes that seem unavoidable when owning a horse up to more serious injuries needing extensive medical care. 

As any good hostler knows, paying close attention to these types of injuries is crucial for keeping our faithful equine friends healthy and happy long-term. Are you ready? Let’s cover everything there is known about treating scrapes in horses!

What causes horses to get scratches?

Horses are beautiful animals and can be quite majestic, but sometimes they get a skin condition known as scratches. Scratches, formally called pastern dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin disease that can affect the lower legs of horses. 

They are caused by bacterial skin infections and are made worse when the horse is exposed to areas that contain moist soil, organic matter, and wet grass; this type of environment provides an excellent breeding ground for the bacteria. 

Additionally, horses with rough or shaggy coats are more prone to getting scratches than those who have soft coats. Preventing scratches often involves keeping their lower legs clean, avoiding wet conditions when possible, and providing horses with blankets or other protective wear when necessary.

What bacteria causes scratches in horses?

Scratches, or pastern dermatitis, is a very common skin infection in horses that is caused by bacteria known as Dermatophilus congolensis. Found most commonly in wet and muddy pastures, this bacterium causes long-term itching and swelling that can be incredibly painful and difficult to treat. 

Symptoms include crusty lesions around the fetlocks, heels, lower legs, and coronets as well as a discoloration of the hair on these areas due to scabs that form after irritation. 

To prevent scratches from occurring, horse owners should ensure their animals stay out of wet conditions and any adjustments to pasture location or bedding should be discussed with veterinarians for help finding the best solution.

How do you treat scratches on horses?

Horse scratches are a common ailment that can occur when horses brush up against shrubs and grasses. The best way to treat them is to keep the affected area clean by removing any dirt and debris from the wound, then applying an antibacterial wash. 

Next, it is important to apply a soothing ointment or cream to help reduce inflammation, speed healing and discourage further scratching. In some cases, a vet may recommend an antibiotic if the wound appears particularly infected. 

Lastly, fly sheets or boots can be worn on affected legs when the horse is turned out to prevent further irritation. With proper attention and care horse scratches can easily be treated and prevented!

What happens when a horse scratches?

When a horse scratches, they’re likely looking to remove dirt and parasites, or simply relieve an itch. Horses often reach out with their hind feet and drag them back across their body to scratch themselves – this is known as ‘scratching.’ 

In some cases, horses may also scratch their faces using their front feet and the interesting thing is that the older horses get, the more common it is for them to do this! 

Scratching can be mildly annoying for owners if a horse scratches on clothing or furniture and it’s important to remain vigilant in offering your horse appropriate grooming and parasite control. Luckily, when a horse does scratch, we can easily see why; all you have to do is take a closer look at its coat!

How do you heal a scratch on a horse fast?

Taking good care of a horse includes making sure even the smallest of scratches are taken care of quickly. The best way to heal a scratch on a horse is to clean it with clean water and mildly antiseptic soap, then dry it off thoroughly before applying either an ointment or an antibiotic spray. 

To help prevent infection, always keep the area clean and watch that it’s scabbing properly while you monitor your horse’s behavior to make sure it’s not in too much pain. 

It’s also important to take extra care that the wound doesn’t get exposed to intense sunlight or other elements. With proper treatment and care, minor cuts and scrapes should heal quickly!

What is the best healing ointment for horses?

Looking for a healing ointment to help your horse recover from nicks and scratches? Look no further! There are a variety of ointments available on the market these days, but one of the best is WoundCare Ointment. 

This all-natural, antibiotic-free product was designed specifically for horse wounds, making it simple and effective. With powerful ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil, and lavender oil, this ointment has anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and wound-healing properties. 

Not only will it help relieve itchiness and discomfort from cuts or other minor skin conditions, but it can even help with the quicker regeneration of damaged tissue. 

So whether your horse got into a scuffle with another animal or just needs some minor relief for its daily wear and tear, give WoundCare Ointment a try—your horse will thank you!

Are horse scratches a fungus?

Horse scratches commonly referred to as “mud fever”, are a skin infection that’s particularly common in wet weather. It can leave horses with painful, scabby lesions on the lower legs and pasterns that look like they might be caused by some kind of fungal infection. 

Fortunately, horse scratches usually do not involve any type of fungus – instead, the culprit is usually a bacterial infection. Horses are susceptible to this bacterial infection due to their frequent contact with wet conditions, which allow the bacteria to colonize these fragile areas. 

Treatment for horse scratches typically involves combining both topical antibiotics and medicated baths to keep the area clean and free from further contamination from bacteria or other irritants.

Are scratches on horses painful?

Scratches in horses, also known as pastern dermatitis, can cause immense discomfort and irritation for your four-legged companion. The itchy patches of irritated skin can leave your horse with terrible inflammation and redness that can cause them grief. 

Although the exact mechanism of the condition is not known, it is known that standing in wet or muddy conditions for too long along with caked-on dirt can cause the skin around your horse’s fetlocks to become inflamed. 

Treatment for this condition includes daily cleaning and application of anti-fungal creams as well as isolating your horse from areas where mud or wetness persists. Ultimately, it might be best to avoid letting your horse stand in such conditions for too long if you want to keep their coat shiny and itch-free.

How do you prevent scratches on horses?

Taking care of a horse includes preventing scrapes and bruises as much as possible. One of the best ways to keep your horse safe from scratches while in stalls or turn-out paddocks is to make sure they are clean and free of sharp objects. 

This can be done by regularly checking areas like fences and gates for protruding nails or jagged boards that could cause bruising. You can also use products such as StableShield which is designed with a thickened wax coating to provide extra protection for your horse’s skin. 

Additionally, using fly masks can help keep grass, weeds, or debris away from sensitive areas on the face where scratches may occur. Lastly, make sure to pay attention to trees or shrubs when riding; if any branches are pointed outwards it may be best to give them a wide berth. 

Being proactive with these steps is key in ensuring your horse has long-term comfort and safety!


In conclusion, treating scratches in horses is vital to keep your horse healthy. A good practice is to check and clean out the irritated area with warm water and an antiseptic solution or lotion twice a day. 

If these treatments don’t seem to be working or the wound has progressed, contact a veterinarian for more advice on how best to treat the scratch. With patience and loving care, you can help your horse heal naturally, without ever having to medicate them. 

Remember that regular brushing and checking for any signs of irritation can help you spot the signs of scratches early on which is ultimately one of the most important steps in addressing these issues as quickly as possible. 

After reading this article, we hope you feel more confident about how to take care of scratches in horses – taking good care of your beloved equestrian companion will always help them return to their majestic selves!

Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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