Conditions or ailments that are the cause of a problem that you see - your observation.

Your vet may diagnose

Aural Plaques


Aural plaques are very common in horses. They are raised white or pale crusts or plaques on the visible part of the inner surface of the ear (pinna).

The virus that causes aural plaques is probably transmitted by biting midges that bite the inside the ear. Aural plaques usually do not cause horses much discomfort, although horses with severe aural plaques may resent having their ears handled.

Historically there has been little effective treatment. Recently, a human anti-tumor drug called Aldara (imiquimod) has been used with some success.

The need to treat this condition is usually only cosmetic. The exception to this is very severe aural plaques that make the horse uncomfortable and resist bridling or handling of the ears.

my vet's role


These lesions do not typically resolve on their own. Conventional treatments are usually not successful. Recent treatment protocol using the drug imiquimod have shown some promise.

my role

Questions To Ask Your Vet:
  • Do these need to be treated?
  • Are these causing my horse to resent ear handling?

Good facilities management to decrease the population of flies and biting midges is recommended, including the use of fans, screens, fly repellant and fly masks that protect the ears. Keep horse in protected stalls during times of high fly activity.

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP