Dealing with Scratches

Hey everyone, it’s Olivia aka @Remarkablemare! Taylor kicked off our first ever blog post with a super fun list of horsey reads and Kelly shared her favorite equestrian hacks, so I am here to tell everyone about how I deal with the devil season aka rainy season in Maryland. With rain, comes scratches, YAY! *Insert stale face here please* 

I want to disclaim that I am in no way an Equine Veterinarian, but I find this method to be extremely successful. If your horse presents with what seems to be scratches, please consult your Vet before starting a treatment plan.

You may have seen the more technical term of scratches as pastern dermatitis, which can be bacterial, fungal, viral, whatever it is, it’s no bueno. Scratches have been the bane of my existence the past year-or-so and now that I have this process down to a literal science, I’m ready to pass down my knowledge so we can all defeat scratches together!


1)    Cleaning

If you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy (not judging if you haven’t), then you have definitely seen doctors and nurses “scrub in” for surgery. Here comes our first step, you’re going to put some gloves on, and gently scrub your horse up with Chlorhexidine like you’re in your own episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t like to scrub so hard that the scabs come off, I prefer them to come off naturally so it’s not more uncomfortable than they already are. But this at least helps clean up the area and disinfect a bit. You can find Chlorhexidine scrub at your local drugstore.


2)    Coating

Once the pastern area is dry from being scrubbed, apply your favorite healing lotion/ointment, whether it is Equiderma, That Blue Stuff, or my new favorite; Triple Paste AF. After months of trial and error, I’ve found that the Triple Paste AF is the absolute quickest and most effective way to clear up any spot of scratches. The mark up on products once it’s advertised as being for horses is out of this world (in the worst way possible), so Triple Paste AF is quite cheap for a large amount since it is technically for human use. My beloved Triple Paste AF can be found at your local drugstore also.


3)    Wrapping

  I like to pad up the area with sheet cotton and wrap with Coflex. This keeps the area dry and allows the paste to soften up the area. Since it’s such a small area, I have no issue turning horses out in this little, magical wrapping concoction. Let it sit for 24 hours, remove wrap, and VOILA! Your horse no longer has scratches! Cotton and Coflex can be found at your local tack store.


After this 24-hour process, your horse should be free of scratches. If your horse’s skin is dried out where it was treated for scratches, I like to follow up with Equiderma lotion to make the area less crusty.


Anyone else seriously battling scratches? Feel free to complain about them with me in the comments below!


Happy healing!