Posts Tagged ‘skin’

Don’t Sweat the Little Stuff

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

One of the symptoms of EPM, is odd sweat patterns, and unusual times of sweating.  In the pictures below, Fudge is sweating only on the left side, in the areas circled.  It was about 72° that afternoon, and not terribly humid.  The other two horses were warm in the remnants of their winter coats, but neither was sweating.  EPM may also effect part of the brain that controls body temperature.  EPM’ers often suffer stress and temporary neurological symptoms when the weather turns hot.

Abnormal sweat pattern

Abnormal sweat pattern

Circled in red

Circled in red


Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Fudge had deep trauma to his neck and chest at the previous owners, compliments of a miniature donkey jack.  When we brought Fudge home, he had some scar tissue in this area, and a little unevenness in the skin.  The bumps have slowly grown to the size of an egg.  There are several possibilities that could cause these bumps.  The vet did look at them when she was here to do vaccinations, but didn’t know what had caused them.  They have grown since then, which makes them troubling.

Bumps on chest have slowly grown

Bumps on chest have slowly grown

Hematomas are blood-filled pockets that are common with kicks to the chest.  They generally appear soon after the trauma, and are slowly absorbed by the body.  These are benign bumps that are caused by trauma to the skin and muscle.

Sarcoids are thought to be caused by the bovine papilloma virus, and have been linked to a weak immune system.   They come in six different types.  Most people are familiar with the type that looks a little like a cauliflower.  They can also be nodules under the skin.  They generally occur in areas where the skin has been broken or traumatized.  Fudge is loosing hair over the bumps.  Additional small bumps can now be felt in this area.

Sarcoids are not so nice.  There is no cure for them, and they tend to multiply.  While they are not cancer, they can definitely affect the health and performance of the horse.  Trying to surgically remove them is not always successful, and many times can make them grow more aggressively.  Even trying to biopsy the sarcoid can make it grow.  Wiki has a informative page for sarcoids.  The vet will be back out next week.

Tingling Skin

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Fudge is a fairly patient guy.  When he started to nip as I was brushing him, I knew that something was wrong, but couldn’t quite understand why.  I have moved to progressively softer brushes, and am now using a brush that is closer in bristle strength to a cloth than a brush.  I think foul language would be more effective at removing caked-on mud than the brush he will tolerate.

Brush strokes that are either hard or fast or flick annoy him when used on his neck.  Going down his front legs is also a problem.  There are at least three possible causes for these bad sensations.  The first is that Fudge was attacked by a miniature donkey in the field at the previous owner’s.  The attacks left him with some deep wounds to his neck and chest.  They have formed scar tissue that may have tender new nerve endings.  The second possibility is that Fudge lost skin sensation in these areas due to the EPM, and as he gains it back, it hurts.  The third is that  EPM horses can get hypersensitivity in the skin and hooves.

This last possibility doesn’t seem to make much sense.  Until you consider the inflammation in the central nervous system.  Inflammation can cause pain, just as it can cause loss of sensitivity.  Researchers don’t have much knowledge about how the CNS is being effected by EPM.  Can you imagine being hypersensitive in the hooves and having shoes nailed on?  Ouch.

We can only hope that Fudge will outgrow this sensitivity, and we need to be patient with him for now.  Each grooming session has to be careful, slow, and deliberate.  I don’t want him to hate to be groomed or touched.  It just happens to be very time consuming during mud season.  You see, Fudge likes the sensation of rolling and scratching his neck in the mud, and we’ve had a little rain lately. 

Skin Problems and Immune System

Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Starting to grow hair April 4th

Starting to grow hair April 4th

The day that Fudgie came home, we noticed small bumps coming up on his skin. To head off problems, we wanted to wash him in an anti-microbial shampoo. We also noticed that he had older skin wounds that looked like they weren’t healing well. Two months later, the wounds have just now started to heal.

Fudge came to us with large blanket rubs across his shoulders and chest. After two months the hair had not started to grow back.

When a horse’s immune system is compromised by a long infection, it can’t keep the many microbes that normally inhabit the skin in check. Fungi and bacteria begin to create infections. The body also doesn’t have the extra energy to renew skin, hair, and hooves. Poor nutrition, lack of vitamin E in winter, and infection can all play a role in less-than-healthy coat and skin. We are addressing the EPM infection through medicine, and are boosting the immune system with a supplement containing probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. He is also getting 8,000 IU of additional vitamin E each day.