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Recognizing Sunburn Risk Factors in Your Horses

With blazing hot Arizona summers just around the corner, it is a good idea to learn more about sunburn and how it can potentially affect your horse if it is not properly protected. Just as with humans, horses are capable of being burned by the powerful rays of the sun. This puts your horse at risk for skin damage, dehydration and generals stress from the pain. In addition, just as with humans, sunburns can lead to squamous cell carcinoma. Therefore, it is important to recognize sunburn risk factors in your horse so you can take the necessary steps toward prevention.

What Types of Horses are at Risk of Sunburn?

All horses are at risk of becoming sunburned if the proper precautions are not put into place. Certain horses, however, are more susceptible to burning. These include:

  • Appaloosas
  • Cremellos
  • Paints
  • Pintos

Generally speaking, any light-pigmented horse is at a greater risk of being sunburned, though darker-haired horses can be affected, too. 

Where are Horses Most Commonly Sunburnt?Sunburns are most common around sensitive areas, such as the area around the nose and the eyes. Dark-colored horses may also show increases sensitivity in the area beneath white markings, while foals and yearlings are more susceptible to sunburn than their older counterparts. 

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