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


Tail Hair Loss, Broken Hairs at End


You notice that a horse (usually one in a herd or in contact with others) has a short tail, getting shorter. Upon closer examination, you notice that the tail hairs are broken off near the end.

This is most commonly caused by pasture mates (usually foals) chewing the tail hairs off. Other rare causes may cause weakening of the hair shaft and breakage. An example of a condition causing this is selenium toxicosis.

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your role


What To Do

If you suspect that the tail is being chewed, the only practical thing that can be done is to change management and keep the horse separate from herdmates. A protective tail sock may help in some cases.

your vet's role

Your vet studies the problem, the environment and the general health of the horse to help you determine the cause. Treatment will depend on that.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Is this horse kept with others in a group or herd?
  • Are there other areas of hair loss?
  • How is the horse's weight or body condition score (BCS)?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP