Common Equine Summer Skin Problems

Summer is right around the corner, and you know what that means! Not only is it time to protect your skin, but your horse’s skin as well. Skin problems in horses can be extremely frustrating and difficult to manage for horse owners, veterinarians, and most importantly, the horse. Equine skin problems can be complex and affect a horse not only physically, but mentally as well. For those reasons, it is important to treat any skin issues as quickly and effectively as possible! To learn more about common equine summer skin problems and how to treat them, read on.


Luckily, sunburn on horses can be totally preventable by putting protection on them daily. Different types of protection include zinc ointment, fly masks, fly boots, and/or daytime stabling. Blisters on pink skin can be sunburn or photosensitivity, which is a condition in which skin becomes overly sensitive to ultraviolet light. Pink-skinned horses (true white hair) are especially at risk of sunburn, so it is important to prevent this by using protection every morning. It is important to reach out to your veterinarian if either of these skin conditions worsens.

Summer Fungal Conditions

Summer fungus thrives in hot and humid areas. One fungal condition is Rain Rot, which is a condition that occurs on the horse’s back. Your horse’s hair may take on a dull appearance, feel waxy to the touch, and break off easily in chunks. The bacteria which causes this condition spreads by moisture, making sweaty backs under dirty saddle pads one of the main causes.

Ringworm on horses is also caused by a fungus. The condition can generally be recognized by raised, round lesions that spread into an area of hair loss. Ringworm is extremely itchy as well as contagious, so it is important to get on top of it as soon as possible and contact your veterinarian if necessary.

Summer Allergies 

Summer allergies begin with the arrival of summer and can become progressively worse as the summer months continue. Several clinical syndromes have been associated with insect hypersensitivities, such as sweet itch, which is caused by Culicoides species (a type of gnat often called no-see-ums). Many horses are allergic to the bites of more than one kind of insect. Some symptoms can include redness, large, flat, circular swellings or raised nodules, and intense itching which leads to hair loss, skin damage, secondary infections, and thickened, wrinkled skin. Effective management strategies include avoiding insects, sanitation, elimination of wet, muddy, or swampy areas with rotting vegetation, and/or intradermal skin testing (IDST). 

Summer Eczema

Summer Eczema is a seasonally recurring allergic skin disease of horses. The main symptom includes itching. In an attempt to combat this, your horse will rub against posts and trees. If not treated fast enough, your horse could potentially rub off its coat or skin. These wounds can also lead to secondary bacterial infections. Prevention of summer eczema includes keeping your horse away from mosquitoes, maintaining a clean and dry pasture, and putting your horse in the stable during peak sun time.


Carefully examining your horse and following these prevention techniques will help keep your horse safe and healthy in the upcoming summer months! Your veterinarian should be an active partner in diagnosing and treating these common equine summer skin problems.

Summer Eczema Oral Supplement

Try our Summer Excema Oral Supplement to prevent tail and mane hair loss, intense itching, and scab patches on your horse’s skin! 

This top-rated herbal blend uses natural herbs for all breeds of horses.  It gives your horse natural support for its immune system to stop the itch.  As mentioned previously, symptoms of Summer Eczema/Sweet Itch are hairless, reddened, encrusted, itchy areas on the base of the tail, mid-line of the belly, mane, and neck. See more about treating symptoms in our Summer Eczema In-Depth section on our website!