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Diseases of the skin, though common, are of less im­
portance relatively than many other diseases; but they
are deserving of careful attention notwithstanding this
fact. Inability to perform work, not to mention disfig­
urement, alone renders the subject worthy of study. It
is noteworthy that a remedy that benefits one skin dis­
ease will benefit others more or less. The diseases may
be caused by agencies from without as well as from with­
in, both of which must be considered in the treatment.

Two liniments suitable for persistent skin diseases, en­
larged glands, and chronic indurations (hardened parts)
are as follows :

1.   Mercurial ointment, 2 ounces; camphor, 1 dram;
oil of tar, 3 ounces; linseed oil, 4 ounces.

2.   Mercurial ointment, 2 ounces; creosote, 1 dram;
liquor ammoniæ, 2 ounces; linseed oil, 6 ounces.

ERYTHEMA (Red, Rose-Colored),

Is a superficial inflammation of the skin, usually oc­
curring in patches more or less extensive, with sometimes
a certain amount of effusion into the deeper layers. It
is non-contagious, independent or symptomatic, active or

There are several forms of the disease—among them
mud fever—the mildest of which are troublesome. It
often results from injury. The patches are slightly ele­
vated, sometimes with well-defined margins, at others
gradually shading off into the healthy skin. There is
more or less exudation, scaling, and itching.

158                      THE DISEASES OF THE HORSE.

Remedy.—Laxatives, especially in gastro­intestinal irr
tation. Salines in drinking water, such as Epsom salt.
Bicarbonate of potash and glycerine, or glycerine and
water. When the chafing is severe, a solution of tannic
acid with glycerine; or an ointment of tannic acid and
opium; or paint with a weak solution of nitrate of sil -
ver 1 part to 12 of water; or dust with flour. Blisters,
diuretics, and arsenic and quinine internally if necessary.

For doses, see pages 13 to 29.

Horses liable to mud fever should not have the hair of
the leg removed, nor should the legs be washed.


Consists of irregularly distributed patches of nettle-sting-
like eruptions; soft, but possessing moderate resistance to
the touch. The patches usually appear and disappear with

Fig. 38. Nettle-Rash or Surfeit.

equal rapidity, sometimes in a few hours. In some cases,
however, they persist for a week. One crop may follow
another. There is little scaling, but more or less itching.
Sometimes the coat remains slightly open for a while.



The horse is often languid and moderately feverish. In
a few cases the bowels and kidneys are affected. When
the patches appear around the eyes and throat they di
figure the horse and threaten serious results.

The disease usually appears in the spring, and is usu­
ally caused by high feeding and little work. Percivall
says the eruptions may attack the air passages.

Remedy.—Wash: Bichloride of mercury, 12 grains;
dilute hydrocyanic acid, 4 drams; glycerine or almond
mixture, 2 ounces; water, 10 ounces. A laxative and
attention to diet. Salines, antiseptics, and tonics are ser­
viceable in debilitated subjects.

For doses, see pages 13 to 29.

LICHEN (Pimples) AND PRURIGO (Itching),

Are described by Robertson as different forms of skin
papulation (pimples). Both are chronic rather than acute.
In lichen the pimples, are relatively larger in the horse
than in man. By abrasion there may be much exudation
and crusting in both lichen and prurigo. In lichen the
pimples do not suppurate, but they shed bran-like scales.
In prurigo they are more varied in size and are further
apart. The skin is hard, dry, and wrinkled. There are
collections of pus beneath the crusts, great shedding of
scales, itching, and sometimes swelling of the lymphatic
glands, with constitutional disturbance. Parasites are
sometimes present.

The causes of these diseases seem to be more general
or constitutional than local. Malassimilation and defec­
tive nutrition seem to be important factors. Heredity is

Remedy.—If the animal is weak, good food, fresh air,
tonics. If strong, gentle purge, moderate but daily doses
of salines, such as sulphate of soda or magnesia. For
severe itching 2 or 3 applications of the following mix­
ture : Nitrate of silver, 2 grains; cyanide of potassium, 3



grains; water 1 ounce. Sulphur iodide and wood tar
oils are alternated night and morning when the skin in
chronic cases is much thickened.
For doses, see pages 13 to 29.


Of which there are four varieties, seems to be an inflam­
mation of the superficial layers of the skin, accompanied
by pimples, vesicles, or pustules, itching, and sometimes
scales and partial baldness. It is one of the commonest
skin diseases, and is liable to be confounded with other
diseases of its class, especially itch and erysipelas. It is
exudative or moist, and is caused apparently by anything
that disturbs the healthy action of the skin. It is the
result sometimes perhaps of nerve paralysis. It is dis­
posed to appear in successive crops, and is usually inde­
pendent. It is most frequent over the neck, trunk, quar­
ters and around some of the orifices. The eruptive dis­
charges, sometimes sero-purulent, are disposed to collect
in crusts, which, if rubbed, aggravate and prolong the

Remedy.—Simple form : Laxative, cooling diet. Pre­
vent biting and rubbing. Clip long hair. As vesicles
dry, apply zinc oxide and kaolin, alternated with tar oil.
Where discharges are profuse and skin puffy, apply as­
tringents dry; zinc oxide, mixed with 6 or 8 parts kaolin
or starch, or dust surfaces with bismuth ternitrate.

More inflammatory and moist form : Cleanse with soap
and water. Soak repeatedly with mercurous oxide wash,
and dress with zinc oxide ointment. Lead acetate with
glycerine and water for the inflammatory weeping stages.
Stronger lead lotions, with chloroform or laudanum, or
both, for dry, itching surfaces. Where spots are limited,
paint with 2 grains silver nitrate to ounce of water, or
water and glycerine. Laxatives, salines, cooling diet for
hot skin and fever.



Pus form : Mercurous oxide wash. Zinc or lead ace­
tate solutions, watery or oleaginous. Occasional dressing
with eucalyptol or thymol abate suppuration and itching.
Opium and belladonna tinctures with astringents for irri­
tation and pain. Attend to bowels and kidneys. Mineral
acids and tonics internally. Digestible, nutritive diet.

Scales form : Soak crusts with oil till loose; remove.
Stimulate skin with a dressing of 1 part oleum picis; 4
parts potassium carbonate and sublimed sulphur, and 30
each of lard and olive oil. Leave on 2 or 3 days. Wash
off with soap and warm water. Wood tar oil or sulphur
iodide locally. Continue acid and tonic treatment, and
give arsenic. Hydrocyanic acid, potassium cyanide, ben­
zoin, chloral, chloroform, camphor, or cocaine relieve the
itching in all stages. A blister sometimes reëstablishes
healthy action in chronic cases.

For doses, see pages 13 to 29.

Sublimed sulphur (flowers of sulphur) is prepared by
distilling the crude sulphur and conducting it in the state
of vapor into large chambers, where it condenses in a fine,
spherically granulated, yellow powder.

HERPES (Creeping, Spreading),

Is usually of two kinds. The first, peculiar to sucking
foals, is composed of vesicles somewhat larger than those
of eczema, and is found in irregular patches at the junc­
tion of the skin with mucous membranes. The second,
peculiar to adult life, is composed of pimples, vesicles, or
pustules irregularly distributed over the body in circular
patches, the hair of which soon falls off, exposing the
eruptions and a slightly scaly skin. There is probably a
parasitic form.

The eruptions do not often break, their contents being
either absorbed or dried. For the first week they are
disposed to spread, the hair around the margins appear­
ing to die for want of nutrition, but reappearing when



the scaling process is completed, usually in two or three
weeks. There is little itching and rarely any noticeable
constitutional disturbance. The disease is thought to be
caused by nerve paralysis. It is probably not contagious.

Remedy.—Alkaline wash, after which rub in vaselin.
Boro-glycerine with a drop of hydrocyanic acid for itch­
ing. Half doses of physic or salines remove the gastric
derangement on which most cases depend. In foals see
to the health of the mother and state of milk.

The spreading variety, persisting often for weeks, prob-

Fig. 39. Vesicles forming.                  Fig. 40. Appearance after Vesicles

have burst or evaporated.

ably caused by a parasite, is treated by dilute solution of
iodine or other antiseptic. Pustular variety treated by
half doses of physic, dressed with zinc oxide or boric
acid. Itching abated by menthol. Growth of hair pro­
moted by mild cantharides or other stimulant.
For doses, see pages 13 to 29.

ECTHYMA (Boil-Like Eruptions),

Is peculiar to American horses. It affects the deep
layers of the skin, appearing mostly over the back and
quarters where the harness rubs. The pustules, which
have firm but much inflamed bases, mature in about a
week, are moderately large, round, distinct, separate, and
have well-marked points. The disease, which differs from
true boil in that it does not have a core, is distinctively
pustular, but some of the eruptions may at first discharge



a straw-colored, sticky fluid. Most of the pustules emerge
the first week ; a few come later. They have dark-col-
ored, somewhat persistent scabs, and when healed leave a
temporarily indented scar.

Fig. 41. Ecthyma.

The disease is probably caused by disturbed nutrition
and particular as well as general debility. The parasites
sometimes found in the running pustules are probably ac­
cidental deposits from the air.

Remedy.—Laxative salines relieve gastro­intestinal or
other irritants. Exercise further hastens the removal of
waste products. Digestible, rather laxative diet. A mild
dose of aloes may be followed by 2 or 3 drams of sulphate
of soda or magnesia, 2 or 3 times a day in drinking wa­
ter; also, with the salines or separately, 2 to 4 fluid
drams of dilute sulphuric acid.

Mineral acids, iron salts, bitters, arsenic, act as anti­
septics and alteratives. Pustules treated by water dress­
ing, boric acid, zinc oxide ointment. Isolate and disin­
fect, as the disease is sometimes contagious.

For doses, see pages 13 to 29.

PSORIASIS (Scaly Inflammation),

Has two forms, the local and the general. The latter
is distinct, and is usually associated with considerable con­
stitutional disturbance. Both forms, in fact, are so dis­
tinct that they are not likely to be mistaken for others.



Although purely a skin disease, horses of sluggish habits
and lymphatic temperaments are more liable to it than
others, and it may be hereditary. It occurs chiefly about
the flexures or joints, especially the carpal and tarsal,
causing lameness, mallenders of the fore leg and sallend-
ers of the hind. It also occurs over the tail and the neck,
near the mane. It is disposed to spread, but not rapidly.
The dry, light-colored scales are usually deepest in the
center of the patches. The patches vary much in size.
There is some itching, and sometimes, in chronic cases,
cracks and suppuration also. The disease is aggravated
by dirt, moisture, sudden atmospheric changes, and in­
appropriate food.

Remedy.—Mild purgatives. Soak scales in a solution
of soda or potassium carbonate, followed by a coat of
iodine. Oil of mercury, weak ointments of biniodide of
mercury or chrysophanic acid are useful. Wood tar oils
and oil of cade alternated with the foregoing in chronic
cases. Alkalies, sulphites, phosphorus, arsenic internally.
A triple compound of arsenic, iodine, and mercury is
given by Professor Williams. Green and oleaginous food,
with a liberal supply of linseed in it. Occasional diuretic.

For doses, see pages 13 to 29.


A thick, dark, wrinkled, tuberculate, insensible condi­
tion of the skin, is caused by excess of skin development.
It usually involves the larger part of an entire limb, and
is frequently the result of repeated attacks of inflammation
of the lymphatic vessels of that limb, growing worse with
each attack. It may follow one attack of lymphangitis
(inflammation of the lymphatic glands). It is dry, leather-
like, sometimes scaly, falls into folds, and in chronic cases
may crack and suppurate. It causes much alteration of
the limb, deformity, and impairment of motion. As the

SKIN DISEASES.                                     165

skin increases in thickness, the adjacent muscular parts
show waste.

Fig. 42. Elephantiasis.

Remedy.—Usually only palliative. Laxatives, diuret­
ics, salines, tonics—vegetable and mineral. Iodine, pot­
assium iodide internally assist absorption. Mercurial or
iodine ointment. Iron, copper salts, arsenic for debilita­
ted. For doses, see pages 13 to 29.

PRURITUS (Itching, Nerve Disturbance, Perverted

Is local or general, the latter form being caused prob­
ably by some general disturbance. It is sometimes caused
by parasites or other mites, but its cause is often insidi­
ous. It often appears suddenly and without warning.
Except in very mild cases, pimples, pustules, corruga­
tions, &c., appear, which, if rubbed or bitten, cause dis­
figurement, followed, after cure, by permanent blemishes.
The disease seems to be affected by heat, moisture, and

Pruritus is regarded by some authorities as identical
with Prurigo, but by Professor Robertson as a cutaneous
neurosis (nerve disturbance), occurring independently of

166                      THE DISEASES OF THE HORSE.

eruption or inflammation, and attacking both horses and

Remedy.—Where blood contamination is suspected,
correct with general or special restoratives. For parasites
rub in sulphur or sulphur iodide ointments, mercury ole-
ate, carbolic or tar oils, stavesacre, or corrosive sublimate
solutions. When resulting from sun heat, put in shade
and wash with potassium bicarbonate; after which moisten
spots with 2 parts glycerine, 1 each of sugar of lead and
laudanum, 60 of water. Abate sensibility with hydrocy­
anic acid, potassium cyanide, or chloroform, alternated
with alkaline washes. Purges, salines, careful diet when
associated with gastric derangement. Iron salts, oleagin­
ous food, alkalies, arsenic for debility.


Is a disease of the cutaneous glands. The parts usually
affected are the heels, especially the hind heels, where an
unusual quantity of oily or lubricating substance is secre­
ted. It is peculiar to lymphatic and coarsely bred and
haired horses. It is caused by increased or perverted
secretion, cold, moisture, perspiration, filth, indigestion,
high feeding &c.

Symptoms­—-Swelling; oily dripping; hair matted ;
soapy feel; bad odor; foot sensitive and stiff, but not
much lameness. Swelling, sensitiveness, and lameness in­
crease ; exercise relieves latter.

Ulcerative stage : Disease extends half way up the leg,
swelling increasing; pussy crusts form.

Grapy stage (described sometimes as a distinct disease):
Grape-like clusters (also compared to coat of pine­apple)
form, growing vascular, red, and sensitive; in chronic
stage become cartilaginous and even horny; skin hard
and thrice its natural thickness; most of the hair falls
off; fetid, bloody, discharges from between grapes ; in­
creased swelling and lameness,



Remedy.—Wash with soft or carbolic soap and warm
water. Diuretics, salines, green food. Trim hair. Apply
antiseptic bran poultice where there is much inflammation
and discharge. Soak scabs with salicylic acid in solution

Fig. 43. First stage of confirmed           Fig. 44. Second stage; cracks.

Grease; exudative.

Fig. 45. Third stage; grapes.

of borax. Zinc sulphate, acetate, sulpho-carbolate, or
chloride lotions, 3 parts to 100 of water, with 2 parts
each of carbolic acid and glycerine. Vary dressing with
sulphur iodide, wood tar oils, carbolic acid, or copper sul­
phate. Sulphuric acid and iron salts, iodine, arsenic in­
ternally. Remove the grapes with hot iron or caustics.
Dress with solution of zinc sulphate or chloride or car­
bolic acid. For doses, see pages 13 to 29,

168                     THE DISEASES OF THE HORSE.


Is usually caused by disturbed nutrition and wasting
changes of the skin and hair-cells. Parasites may or may
not be present. It usually occurs suddenly, and is often
extensive, with little or no irritation, itching, exudation,
or swelling. The mane and tail are exempt. The bare
skin is smooth, soft, and unctious, with a very slight cov­
ering of scales. The disease has a tendency to heal itself.

Remedy.—Oleaginous diet. General tonics, such as
arsenic, iron, with gentian or nux vomica. Stimulate skin
with ammonia liniment; cantharides tincture 1 part, soap
or camphor liniment 8 parts; or castor oil. Shave, and
rub in vaselin daily, dressing occasionally with the above
stimulants. For doses, see pages 13 to 29.


Is aided by damp dirt, barley straw, poverty, and pri­
vation. The horse suffers from three kinds of lice—two
peculiar to itself, one peculiar to domestic fowl. The
lice sometimes create such havoc that the hair falls off
in places.

Remedy.—Wash with soft soap and warm water and
rub in solution of stavesacre or tobacco, 1 part solution
to 40 of water. Oil of tar 1 part, oil of rape or other
mild oil 4 parts. Sulphur iodide ointment. Mercuric
nitrate ointment. Use cautiously. Creosote 1 part, glyc­
erine or alcohol 2 parts, water 40 parts. Clip long, coarse
hair; isolate infected horses and cleanse premises.


Is caused by several species of ‘ acari ’ (mange mites)
burrowing under the skin. It is peculiar to unhealthy,
unclean, coarse-bred, hairy-limbed horses and to cold
weather. It is very contagious and requires isolation and
careful treatment. A mangy horse will rub itself sore.
Symptoms.—The discovery of the insect, and the pre-

SKIN DISEASES.                                      169

cise kind, is the best—is proof itself. Itching, rubbing,
biting skin; hair falls off in patches; skin dry, white,
lifeless, shedding scales and white dust and disclosing red
pimples, and, in inveterate cases, becoming hard, dry,

Fig. 46. The mite or acarus known as Symbiotes Equi. Magnified.

Remedy.—Wash : Cut up an ounce of common roll
tobacco; keep in water near boiling point 6 to 12 hours;
strain and make up 26 ounces, adding 2 to 4 ounces glyc­
erine. Liniment: Linseed oil 1 pint, oil of tar 2 fluid
ounces, sulphur 2 ounces, Rub one or other of these



dressings in well for 2 days, to remain 3 or 4 days; then
wash with soft soap and tepid water and reapply if nec-

Fig. 47. The mite or acarus known as Dermatodectes Equi. Magnified.

Fig, 48 A piece of mangy skin.



essary. Wash and disinfect with carbolic or corrosive sub­
limate solution clothing, harness, stable fittings, rubbing
posts, &c.

Fig. 49. The mite or acarus known as Sarcoptes Equi. Magnified.


Is caused by vegetable parasites (gnawing worms), which
implant themselves in the hair follicles (secreting cells),
Dampness, darkness, and improper diet favor their pro­
duction. Young horses suffer most. The more or less
circular patches are clear gray and shining. The hair
falls out, disclosing either minute eruptions or distinct
and separable scales. Some patches have healthy spots in
the center, but it sometimes seems to cure itself through
the death of the parasites.

Ringworm, Yellow or Honeycomb, is also caused
by parasites, which may be transplanted to other animals.
The patches consist of cup-shaped, yellowish scabs or
crusts, sometimes separate, at others confluent. The odor



is peculiar. It has been likened to that of bruised hem­
lock and mouse and cat’s urine.

Remedy.—Soak and wash with lead subacetate solution
1 part to 90 of water. Then moderately paint with com­
pound solution or tincture of iodine ; or a smart applica­
tion of common iodine ointment ; or a thorough satura­

tion with corrosive sublimate, 2 to 4 grains to ounce of
water, adding a little glycerine. Paraffin is good. Salines,
tonics, arsenic internally, help to abate irritation and
swelling. Soaking with oil softens and removes scales.
Isolate. Disinfect brushes, harness, &c. No currying.
For doses, see pages 13 to 29.


Is sometimes hard to cure. The skin may be in an
irritable condition, and therefore less able to stand the
friction of the saddle and the acridity of the perspiration.
From a slight, patchy excoriation, or perhaps only depi-
lation, the skin of the back and sides will sooner or later
become ulcerated, rendering the animal useless for saddle

Remedy.—Improve the fit of the saddle ; line flaps
with linen instead of serge, and make them more flexible
and smaller if necessary. The medical means are purg-



ing and various local applications, such as are recom­
mended for mangy affections (page 169).


Is caused by lack of nutrition (health-giving food) in­
digestion, worms in the intestinal canal, chronic inflam­
mation of the lungs, lack of exercise, exposure to cold,
&c. Sometimes the ribs can be counted with the eye.
Coat staring. The skin may be perfectly healthy.

Fig. 52. One cause of Hidebound.

The remedy is nutritious food. If there is disease,
cure it.


Is analogous in nature, cause, and remedy to grease,
namely : It is peculiar to the hind legs, to coarse, fleshy,
white legs, and cold, wet weather; consists in (transverse)
ulcerations; the legs fill; the secretion is disordered, but
the skin is stretched and cracked ; remoteness of heel from
the heart; motion of heel; secreting nature of surface ;
filth irritation ; need of astringent applications, poultices,
&c. Stopping thrush in feet will sometimes cause the



heels to crack and break out in pimples. This is best
counteracted by aperients and diuretics.

Remedy.—Treated according to origin, duration, and
condition. When from wet ground, remove to dry; when
from filth, cool and fine legs by cautious purging. If the
ulceration has not penetrated through the skin, bran poul­
tices, mild astringent powder, weak solutions of blue vit­
riol, alum, tincture of myrrh, benzoin, &c.; poultice best.
If through skin, heroic treatment; slough with butter of
antimony or nitric acid; some use lunar caustic or a red
hot iron. Wipe dry; sprinkle caustic; poultice. High-
heeled shoes if necessary. Watch frog. Overexercise in­
jurious. Green food. (Percivall.)


There is a sort of eruption consisting of patchy exco­
riation and slight ulceration around the verge of the anus.
It occurs usually in the spring, and is accompanied by
costiveness. It is ascribed to a disordered alimentary
canal, preternaturally hot, acrimonious fecal discharges,
which increase the external irritation.

Remedy.—Wash twice a day, wipe dry, and sprinkle
with common flour. Gentle purge if necessary.


A horse may be so covered with warts as to be tempo­
rarily useless. Their most common situations are the
head (eyelids, muzzle, ears), belly, sheath, penis, and in­
ner side of thigh and arm. They are said to be pro­
duced by the skin, whence they derive their 2€rings.
Some grow by pedicles; others have broad roots; others
still are incased in the skin, out of which they slip, if
pressed, when freed by the knife. Some are no larger
than peas, others as large as marbles or walnuts, while a
single wart has been known to grow till it impeded the
action of a limb. They are usually enveloped in thin,

SKIN diseases.


smooth, and hairless skin, but which in time becomes
callous and horny. Others are ulcerous and even fungoid,
bleeding on the least irritation and showing no disposition
to heal. Internally they exhibit a firm, fibro-cartilaginous
texture, little or no vascularity, and seldom bleed except
from their roots.

Fig. 53. Warts.

Remedy.—Remove by excision, torsion, or ligature.
To prevent return, cauterize the site of those about the
penis. Chromic acid, silver nitrate, and glacial acetic
acid destroy warts. The soft variety gradually removed
by daily moistening with commercial acetic acid.

Where the wart grows from a slender pedicle, a double,
well waxed, silk ligature, drawn tightly, is the best means
of. removal. Should the ligature cut the wart, apply the
budding iron to its surface. Encysted warts require cru­
cial incisions and pressing only. If a wart has a broad
base, caustic is more effectual than ligature. Sprinkle
the wart with arsenic. It will fall off in about two weeks.
Sulphur made into a paste, with sulphuric acid, will an­
swer the same purpose. Chloride of zinc, powdered, and
rubbed with a simple ointment, is good. Warts of the
eyelids should be removed with the knife.

176                   THE DISEASES OF THE HORSE.

Greasiness of the Skin.—Percivall describes the case
of a horse, recently returned from grass, which, while
shedding its coat in September, showed an exceedingly
greasy condition of the skin. It was washed with soft
soap, but in three days became greasy again. A week
afterward, after giving a fourth dose of physic, the ani­
mal was washed in water in which an alkali had been

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