Dermatology in horses in summer

Equine skin diseases are quite frequent pathologies in horses.

These problems can be parasitic (ectoparasites and endoparasites), infectious (viruses, bacteria and fungi), allergic (food, insect bites, environmental), traumatic (wounds, cuts, abrasions) and neoplastic (melanomas, sarcoids, papillomas, etc.).

Some of the dermatological problems in horses are associated with the arrival of heat and the increase in the number of insects.

Dermatología de los caballos

Most common skin conditions in horses

Among the most typical skin conditions in horses linked to the summer season, we can highlight the following:

Insect hypersensitivity

Generated by an exaggerated reaction of the organism to insect bites (especially of the Culicoides mosquito). The activity of this mosquito increases from April to October and is most active at dawn and dusk.

The bite causes swelling in the horse and itching in the area.

Phytosis in horses

It is caused by fungi of the genera Microsporum, Trichophyton and Epidermophyton. These fungi produce rounded lesions and not very intense itching.

However, it is true that some horses do not itch.


It is a parasitic disease in horses caused by a parasite (Draschia megastoma of the genus habroenma) carried by certain types of flies.  It has an internal parasitic presentation and a cutaneous presentation in the form of granulomatous dermatitis, ulcerative dermatitis, etc.

Sunburn in horses

Afectan a las zonas más desprotegidas del caballo, es decir, aquellas zonas con menos densidad capilar y a capas más claras.

How can we prevent insect bites in horses?

Environmental management is essential to prevent insect bites in horses. Keeping the stable clean and avoiding the accumulation of manure will significantly reduce the insect load.

Try to eliminate stagnant water that remains for a few days, even in small quantities, to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in it.

On the other hand, maintaining air currents is very important, as culicoides, the mosquito that mainly causes hypersensitivity, is a very bad flyer.

 The use of fly blankets and fly masks will also help to prevent insects from landing directly on the animal’s skin.

If used, it reduces the number of flies in the stables and during exercise, thus preventing skin diseases of the horse.

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