Sunburn in Horses - Symptoms & Treatments
Almost all of us will, at some point, have experienced the pain and suffering that’s sunburn. Maybe you forgot your sun cream or fell asleep on a sunny beach, and suddenly your skin’s in agony. But did you know that the same thing can happen to horses?
Just like humans, a horse can burn under the rays of the hot sun. This skin damage can lead to a number of issues, like dehydration and stress.
Most of us know the importance of protecting our skin from the sun, and this is especially the case for our children. Yet, many horse owners overlook this danger.
There are a few products you can use to both prevent and treat sunburn in horses. However, just because your horse has some protection from the sun doesn’t mean your work is over. Horses still require stabling during the hottest days, and access to shade in their meadow or paddock.
Some people might view sunburn on horses as an inevitable issue that occurs every summer. However, this is just as untrue for horses as it is for humans. Horses exposed to the burning rays of the sun are susceptible to not just sunburn, but also skin damage, scarring, and even skin cancer.
Dry, damaged skin will often inflame and crack, causing great pain to a horse. in the summertime, there are insects eating away at these kinds of sores, leading to infection and other issues.
Which Horses Are Most Vulnerable?
Any horse can become sunburnt, but these horses are more at risk:
- Light-pigmented horses
- Dark-coloured horses with white markings
Effects of Sunburn in Horses
Usually, sunburn in horses occurs around sensitive areas like the nose, eyes, and the pink skin beneath white hair. A good defense for sunburn on a horse’s nose and mouth area can be a fly mask and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Make sure to apply it generously every two hours in order to protect a horse’s skin sufficiently.
Some symptoms to watch out for are red/pink skin, inflamed/weeping skin blisters, hair loss, and dry, cracking, and peeling skin. If you see these kinds of injuries on your horse, be sure to apply some after-sun as soon as possible. There are many varieties of these products that can be used on your horse, whether they come in the form of ointments or salves.
As you may expect, sunburn is simply caused by overexposure and a lack of protection from the sun. This exposure to harmful UV rays leads to horses developing skin damage, skin cancer, and permanent scarring.
Diagnosis of Sunburn in Horses
It’s usually very easy to spot horse sunburn, both by appearance and a horse’s behavior. A horse that’s stressed, dehydrated, and in pain will act erratic, shy, and different. If you’re seeing these effects in your horse despite having carefully followed a protective routine, it’s time to call the vet. Obviously a horse insurance would be the best choice to cover these kind of medical problems. It’s possible that the skin damage or change in behavior may be due to something else, such as an allergic reaction to plant life or medication.
Treatment of Sunburn in Horses
A horse’s skin acts very much like a human’s when it’s sunburnt, so the treatments are alike. Another pet that people often don’t know is susceptible to sunburn are cats. Like horses, the whiter a cat, the more likely it is to suffer.
Making use of horse services can help identify the signs of sunburn even if you can’t notice them. The sunburn problem can be seen in its fur anyway, just like a horse’s condition is noticeable in its coat.
Pay attention to the areas where the sunburn is most severe, like cracked, peeling, or weeping spots, and ensure that you keep an eye on its behavior. Use moisturizing agents, such as nappy-rash products, to ease the horse’s pain.
Sometimes, a horse’s sunburn won’t clear up, meaning the issue might not be sunburn, or that a stronger product is needed. If this is the case, you should see a vet, who’ll easily establish what the affliction is, and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
Recovery of Sunburn in Horses
After a horse has been sunburnt and is on the road to recovery, it’s important to take good care of it. You should ensure that shade is always available in your horse’s area at any time of day. During the hottest part of the day, especially in summer or in very hot places, it’s advisable to house your horse in an airy stable. You should see improvement in the skin within a day or two.
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