What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Losing Mane or Tail Hair


Mane hair is usually lost due to traumatic rubbing. Horses kept in dry-lot corrals or pens reach their heads through bars or wires to graze outside the fence. In doing so, they rub out the middle section of their manes on the fence. You will notice that the hairs are broken off short there.

Horses that are allergic and itchy often rub their top-lines. This is classically seen in Culicoides hypersensitivity (Sweet Itch) an allergic reaction to tiny biting gnats.

Tail hair loss is seen from a variety of causes and can appear as broken hairs near the ends, near the base, or actual loss of the hair from the root. However, keep in mind that certain breeds, such as Appaloosas, are known for having a very thin tail and mane. Horses, especially foals, are prone to biting out tails of herd-mates.

  • Code Yellow

    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

your role


What To Do

Pay attention to whether the problem is limited to mane or tail or involves both. Consider whether insects hypersensitivity may be playing a role, or whether your horse is rubbing the hair causing it to break. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

your vet's role

Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Have you notice biting midges or gnats in your area?
  • Are flies bothering the horse?
  • Is the horse an Appaloosa or does it have Appaloosa bloodlines?
  • Are there other horses affected?
  • Does the horse's general health seem good to you otherwise?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP