Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 46 If it's not one thing...

... it's another.  So, remember how I was talking about the excessive shedding Little Love was doing?  Turns out it is starting to be a bit TOO excessive.  Yesterday I discovered that she seems to have lost hair in small little patches on her back, sort of like she was having a case of rain rot (or ring worm?).  I washed her with an anti-fungal shampoo that I happened to have from last spring, when she started loosing her tail and mane hair, out of the blue (it worked then).  I decided to blanket her for the day, because it seemed like the hair loss problem was worse on the right side of the body, on which she rolls religiously every single day.  She literally grinds herself into the ground.  All the sand and dirt up her skin is not helping me keep an eye on this hair loss thing.  So sorry, Little Love, you have to endure the blanket until I get a hold of this thing!

When I got to the barn today, I decided to really inspect her all over in the sun, to grasp the enormity of the hair loss problem.  Turns out she has also lost ALL her hair in her armpits and in the crack between her back legs and some under the belly close to her teets.  Not good.  The skin is literally hairless, but very smooth, like a baby's bottom.  So there is no scabbing or leasons or even dandruff.  Strange.  I also noticed that she was sort of "patchy" on her face, if I really looked at her in a certain light, but I could sort of see some growth pushing in as well (or was that just wishful thinking?)  There is also a circle (an inch in diameter) on her bottom on the left side of her tail that has no hair.  Weird.

Now the question is:  is this some kind of a reaction to her immune system being sort of jeopardized during this hoof episode (and all her energy going into growing hooves instead of hair) or are we having a full blown fungal problem completely unrelated to the hooves.  Or both.  I'm definitely washing her again with the anti-fungal stuff on Friday (it's supposed to be done every three days).  I already soaked her brushes in bleach and washed her blanket and halter...  I also called the vet and left a message, sort of wanted to talk to her and pick her brain.  Perhaps she has a theory on what is going on.  And if Little Love loses any more hair, the vet surely needs to come and check her out.  I really don't want my horse to go completely hairless.  Yikes! 

In terms of her feet, I decided to take the boots off for the night yesterday, because all the moisture getting trapped in there seemed to irritate her at the hairline in the back (it was raw).  Becky was kind enough to put them back on this morning.  Little Love did well overnight without them apparently and she seemed to actually walk better today when I got there in the afternoon.  We walked for 25 minutes and she was moving relatively normally, apart from the fact that she seemed really tired.  But is that because of the hooves or because of the hairloss?  Wish I knew.  I think I need to spend some quality time on the internet researching skin conditions in horses...

PS. The scary thing is that apparently several years ago Little Love had an episode of hairloss where she lost hair in small (very, very small) little circles on top of her back.  It never grew back.  You can't see it with the winter coat and even in the summer it's only obvious when you sit on top of her and look back.  I don't exactly know what it was.  Her old owner talked about some bacterial thing?  Ring worm? But I thought hair grew back after ringworm... We had a language barrier there, since English is not her native tongue and my French is limited.  Anyways, that's why I'm keen to talk to the vet.  Hairloss is another thing, but when the hair doesn't grow back... well, that's a whole other ball game as you can imagine... don't even want to think what that would be like.


  1. The hair loss this time does sound systemic rather than an infection like rain rot - you're probably right that it's a result of the stresses on her system due to the foot issues - maybe all the energy that should be going to building a new coat is instead going to building new hoof that she needs - after all they're composed of very similar stuff.

  2. I hope you and Kate are right about what's causing the hairloss, it could be stress related. The only other, random, cause I can think of is an allergic reaction- but she'd probably have hives if that were the case, right?

  3. I found something on the internet called "patchy shedding" which is caused by imbalance in hormones. From the sound of it, it is exactly what she has (I hope). I wouldn't be surprised if her hormones were all over the map after all the stress from the hooves. I was thinking allergy, too, at one point, but there really should be something on the skin I would think... and allergy to what? Shavings? She used to have straw before...