Complicated Equine Skin Diseases

Complicated and emerging equine skin disorders do exist, but they are rare, according to one researcher.
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"The practice of equine dermatology is usually straightforward with clinical examination and diagnostic testing; it is a rare occasion for an equine skin condition to be considered an actual emergency," began Ann Rashmir-Raven, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor in the department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University. However, complicated equine skin disorders do exist. During a presentation at the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., Rashmir-Raven reviewed complicated, catastrophic, and reportable skin diseases.

Vesicular Stomatitis

Rashmir-Raven first discussed vesicular stomatitis, a reportable disease that causes painful blistering and erosions in and around the mouth and around the muzzle, teats, or hooves of horses, cattle, goats, swine, deer, and some other livestock. She noted that vesicular stomatitis lesions look very similar to those caused by foot and mouth disease, a foreign animal disease in the United States.

Vesicular stomatitis, a viral infection, occurs sporadically in the southwestern United States and is thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black flies. Infected animals with open sores can expose herdmates to the disease through close contact or by sharing feed buckets or bits. As a precaution, all infected and susceptible livestock on a premise are quarantined until at least 30 days after all infected animals have healed

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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