Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Skin Seems Reddened or Irritated in a Location

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If there is swelling and pain associated with this problem.
  • If the problem seems severe, or involves a large area.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • If the problem seems very mild and limited to a small area.

Reddened skin is often only seen in horses (Paints, Appaloosas, and Pintos) with white haired or pink skinned areas, and especially in anatomic areas where the hair is absent or short, like the muzzle, face, around the eyes, around the anus and vulva, on the sheath or on white limbs.

Skin tumors, infections, allergic skin disease, insects, skin burns and countless other disorders may all result in reddened skin. A hallmark of the healing process is inflammation, the opening of the blood vessels. This allows infection fighting and healing elements from the blood into an affected area. This causes skin to appear red. The other hallmarks of healing are swelling and local pain. Reddened skin in an area is also commonly caused by sunburn.

Male horses with pink sheath skin often produce reddish colored smegma, which can make the sheath or penis area look inflamed when it isn’t.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and assess the affected area. Look for any other abnormalities, swelling or a pain response when the area is gently touched. Contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

They may tell you to monitor the area and take a “wait and see” approach, or they may recommend that they examine the horse.

POSSIBLE TREATMENTS or TherapiesTo Lessen or Resolve the Sign

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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