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Recognizing and Treating Sunburns in Horses

Just as with humans, sunburns in horses are fairly easy to recognize. Most frequently, a sunburn results in areas of inflammation, redness and sometimes oozing, watery blisters. Sunburn may also result in patches of hair loss and a general change in the horse’s behavior due to the pain. For example, the horse may seem a bit lethargic or may suddenly become difficult to saddle. 

Treating a Sunburn

When treating sunburns in horses, you need to address the skin damage while also helping to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Many horse owners apply a diaper rash product to the affected area in order to soothe the pain while also addressing the peeling skin. A veterinarian my also prescribe a moisturizing cream or ointment that contains an antibiotic in order to further assist with the healing process. While treating the sunburn in your horse, it is important to continue to take steps to prevent further burning and irritation. This means keeping the horse out of the sun and away from insects that may bite at the sensitive area. When bites combine with the already dry and cracked skin caused by the sunburn, your horse will be at an even greater risk of infection. Therefore, keeping biting insects away from your horse is even more important after it has suffered a sunburn.

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