Equine Saddle Sores
Equine Saddle Sores
Saddle sores look like raised blood blisters and occur because of ill-fitting saddles or other tack items. Saddle sores are normally found around the withers, girth, shoulder or back.
If your horse has saddle sores, it should not be saddled or ridden as the pain associated with saddle sores renders it unusable until it heals fully.
Saddle sores are preventable by paying attention to proper cleaning, saddling and riding. Before saddling, brush any areas that the saddle parts touch ensuring there is no dirt which can rub into the horse's skin thus causing saddle sores. Next, it is vitally important that your saddle fits your horse properly – not too large or too small - have your saddle fit checked by a trainer, vet, or saddler.
Symptoms of Saddle Sores
• raised blisters over the saddle area
• tender areas to the touch
• areas of heat
• areas of pain
• white/grey patches reflecting uneven pressure and suppressed circulation
• absence of hair
• crusty scabs
Causes of Saddle Sores
• Ill- fitting saddles
• dirty saddle pads
• girths and cinches being too tight, too loose, too rough, too dirty, or skin being bunched underneath them
• galled girth galls.
• staphylococcal bacterial infection of the hair follicles
• poor grooming
• dirty rugs
Treatment of Saddle Sores
Your vet may have to sedate your horse to diagnose the existence of saddle sores and some of the following will be recommended:
• daily application of prescribed salve
• no riding until the saddle sores have healed
• repeated washing
• application of a cold compress to the saddle sores
• keeping the saddle sores dry.
• application of iodine to prevent infection
• total rest
• petroleum jelly to reduce the rubbing of the girth.
• massaging with stimulating ointments
• herbal treatments such as comfrey, lavender oil, aloe vera gel, arnica, calendula used according to instructions, are considered beneficial for saddle sores.