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Hair Loss, Crusts or Scabs on Front of Hind Cannon

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

    Matting, crusting and hair loss on the fronts of the hind cannon bones is common, and often diagnosed as a mild and non-painful condition known as Cannon Dermatitis or Keratosis (bacterial or fungal dermatitis). If the affected skin is white, photosensitization may be a related or differential diagnosis.


    Assess the affected area noting the location and size of the crusts or hair loss. You may try to treat this condition yourself by removing the hair and crusts and any scabs with a stiff brush. Once the majority of the material is removed, I recommend daily treatments for about a week. This consists of lathering the area up with an antiseptic shampoo, letting it stand 10 minutes, and rinsing and drying it well. Usually after 7-10 days, there is improvement and new hair can be seen returning to the affected areas.

    If these lesions are not improving or if they are growing, you may want to contact your vet. Likewise, if skin lesions develop in other areas, the horse may have a more serious condition that warrants veterinary assessment.


    Upon examination your vet may find underlying causes for the condition and may even determine that there is more than simple cannon keratosis occurring. As for many skin conditions, definitive diagnosis of stubborn conditions may require skin biopsy.

    Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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