August 5, 2019


The day before I left town for 8 days for a work trip + wedding, I noticed that Connor had abrasions symmetrically placed on either side of his front left pastern.  I dabbed some ointment on it and chalked it up to him putting his foot through something.


What I came home to
I came home to a raging case of scratches.  He's had pastern dermatitis before, but always on the hinds, always in winter, and it never progressed to the point of open wounds.

This time, it was primarily on the left fore, with just a touch of it on the left hind.

Thankfully I only traveled one overnight this week, so I've been able to return to helicopter mom status.  I did once a day Betadine scrubs for a few days, with antibiotic ointment on the open wounds and Desitin around it after drying thoroughly.  Then I stopped the scrubs and tried a barnmate's silver spray she recommended (verdict: got worse after using it.  Not sure if related or not though). 

The pastern has been a bit swollen this whole time, but when I came out Saturday, the swelling had started creeping up the leg.  Thankfully, after wrapping it, it was cool and tight on Sunday.  Hopefully we're past the worst of it, but one way or another, I will be calling the vet to be on the safe side.

The good news is, he hasn't been lame at all, but even still this can't feel good.

Also, now I get to figure out how to blend this sweet looking "tan line" into the rest of his leg.  I'm not sure I realized how hairy these Cobs stay all summer before now!

Scratches!  Blah.  Hit me with your best home remedies in the comments.


  1. UGH. Seriously feel for you. Scratches SUCK.

    This one was passed along by Saiph years ago and I always had good luck with it (and always added the option ingred.):

    One tube of each of the following:
    -athletes foot creme with steroids (cortisone )
    -yeast infection creme (miconazole)
    -(optional) triple antibiotic ointment

    1. Seconding this, with the triple antibiotic minus the yeast infection cream which I didn’t have in my concoction. It cleared up 90% of Arya’s nasty case in less than a week and kept it from getting worse through a wet muddy spring. I shampooed with medicated mane and tail shampoo and then got it as dry as possible and did cream several days, currying/picking at scabs gently to loosen and get the cream under them - I had a solid pastern of scab though 😬

    2. Same here - the Desitin (has to be the extra strength stuff), athlete's foot cream and triple antibiotic worked great on Phantom's pastern a couple of years ago.

  2. totally filing away liz's remedy for later. I've had best luck with with dermalone (or any of it's namesakes: panalog, animax entederm...). Betadine scrub, dry REALLY REALLY well, and then a liberal coating of the ointment.

    I'm so sorry he got such bad scratches. It's the worst. I always feel so terrible when it happens because it LOOKS so uncomfortable...

  3. Mix furazone and desitin about 50/50 and smear all over. I recommend gloves because it's like wallpaper paste LOL

  4. I've done the cream Liz mentioned with triple antibiotic and not miconazole and sometimes I add a few crushed SMZ tabs.

    The best thing I've used is a combination of things. Chlorohexidine scrub, either from the vet at 4% (only comes in big gallon jugs otherwise and the stuff at the store for humans is useless, vet said it's not regulated when I asked after trying it) or TrizCHLOR 4 which I get from Chewy. I put that on and let the horse sit for 10-20 minutes before rinsing. From there it depends on your horse's sensitivity. I get Fungaway from TSC which is pretty cheap and usually does the job as a fairly lazy treatment. Maestro I can also use MTG on him but the horse has to stay out of the sun for a bit after that or it causes irritation. For Stampede I end up using the cream mix because he is too sensitive to a lot of other things.

    Honestly my biggest prevention tool is scrubbing with antibacterial dawn if there's a lot of mud or footing on the legs.

    Hopefully you get the crust under control soon, but that is a great haircut. ;)

  5. I use either what Megan recommends above, or my new favorite is Krud Zapper. The ointment not the spray.
    Looks like you have a good handle on it though, hope it clears up asap!

  6. honestly i'm a big fan of MTG and find that it clears up *most* funk quickly. if that doesn't work quickly, then i don't mess around and go directly to Rx strength animax (also called dermalone). when izzy had a months-long raging case of scratches it was the only thing that worked.

  7. hampton had a case on his white sock earlier this year. it cleared up with scrubs and MTG, but I know that doesn't work on some horses. I have also used stuff from TSC for dry cow mastitis before. and I keep it clipped short. Most annoying ailment ever.

  8. Gross...I always use a combination of things: desitin, cortisone cream, monistat, antibiotic ointment, desenex powder. Main thing is to keep it as dry as possible. Good luck :)

  9. Lived in SE Georgia for 12 Irish TB always, always got scratches. Not much you can do with hot, humid conditions.

    I used AGSilver Clean Talc, nothing moist (no ointments)on the heels & pastern.

    Kept the paddock mowed so the grass was low, didn't turn-out until most of the dew was dried off by the sun if possible.

    Put down more pine shavings at night so the stall was pretty dry.

    It all helped though if it kept up longer, I had an antibiotic from the vet.

  10. I have moved away from general antibiotics unless the vet specifically prescribes them in this day & age, especially after Solo had TWO resistant bacteria in his cultures at the vet school in 2017. And since scratches can be viral, fungal, bacterial or a combination, it makes it even riskier (fungi can develop resistances too).

    Solo used to get it on his white heels, pretty nasty like yours, I just cleaned it daily, using warm water to loosen scabs, dried, & put generic desitin on to block additional moisture (per vet instructions). It was always slow to heal, but did so steadily.

    I got some extra nasty skin funk on both horses this past winter with all the wet, but it was up on the cannons. It was pretty weird & took forever to get rid of while trying all kinds of things, I did finally beat it with a rigorous regime of Microtek shampoo + spray.

  11. A firend used the No Thrush powder on scratches. She caught it pretty early, so they just cleared up with one dusting I like the No Thrush on any kind of open wound as it sticks (it's a dry powder) so dirt and other things do not, and allows the cut to breath. I've used it on hot spots for the dogs as well. It's my fav horse product.

  12. Ugh Hopefully his case of scratches is resolved soon!! I have to say though his shaved legs look pretty cool to me!