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Home:Equine Diseases: Equine Saddle Sores

Equine Diseases

Equine Diseases - Saddle Sores

Description of Equine Saddle Sores

Equine Saddle Sores
Saddle sores, which are found around the withers, girth, shoulder or back are extremely painful for your horse who must not be ridden or saddled until the saddle sores have completely healed. Saddle sores have the appearance of raised blood blisters and/or hairless moist areas.
Prevention of saddle sores by rigorous attention to fit and cleanliness of saddle and tack is of utmost importance. It is advisable to have the saddle fitted by a professional saddler. Before saddling, brush any areas that the saddle parts touch to ensure there is no dirt which can rub into the horse's skin thus causing saddle sores..

Saddle sores symptoms range from raised blisters over the saddle area to tender areas of heat and pain, white/grey patches reflecting uneven pressure and suppressed circulation, areas of hair loss, crusty scabs and calluses.
ill-fitting saddles are the main cause of saddle sores. Ill-fitting tack such as girths and cinches are further causes. Unhygienic conditions such as dirty saddle pads, dirty rugs and poor grooming further exacerbate the conditions causing saddle sores whilst staphylococcal bacterial infection of the hair follicles are a further cause.

As your horse will be in severe pain, your vet may have to sedate your horse to examine and diagnose saddle sores. The first step in treatment of saddle sores is total rest with no riding or saddling. Repeated washing with a recommended solution will be next. The saddle sores must be kept dry and the application of a cold compress will help. A stimulating ointment will be prescribed for application and massaging into the saddle sores. Application of iodine may also be recommended to prevent infection. Petroleum jelly helps to reduce the rubbing of the girth.
Herbal treatments such as comfrey, lavender oil, aloe vera gel, arnica, calendula used according to instructions, are considered beneficial for saddle sores.