Guest Author - Kim Wende
Is your horse constantly rubbing their tail? This is something you do not want to ignore as they can rub a raw spot on their tail which could lead to an infection. There are several things that could cause your horse to rub their tail.
Years ago the advice was to bandage the tail, but don't because you would need to wrap the tail tightly in order for it to stay on. A tail that is wrapped to tight will have the blood supply cut off and potentially cause severe damage.
Here are some things to check that can make a difference:
De-wormed - Make sure they have been de-wormed as parasites can cause a lot of other problems too. If the horse has a heavy infestation of parasites be sure to consult your veterinarian. De-worming a horse with a heavy infestation can cause major problems and even death if not done properly.
Clean the Sheath or Udder – Mares will get a buildup between their teats which need to be cleaned and some from being in season will need to be cleaned under the tail. Geldings will need their sheath cleaned. Some horses do not like their sheath or udder cleaned so be careful as you don't want to get kicked or bit. You may need to get help from an experienced horse handler or your veterinarian.
Dry skin - For dry skin shampoo the tail and then moisturize with a conditioner. You can also apply other products for dry skin that is specifically made for horses after washing the tail which could help. Be careful as some products will burn if the horse is left out in the blazing sun and some will clog the pores which will create more problems.
Under the tail – this area can also develop problems and need to be cleaned. Also, check the anus as this area can get crusty. If this is the case clean the area carefully with a wet rag do not use wipes as they are alcohol-based. If this area is really crusty apply olive oil to soften the guck. Be careful as this is a very tender area.
Sweet-Itch – this occurs during the summer season and is caused by a gnat called Colicoides pulicaris. The gnat's saliva causes an overreaction and they itch relentlessly. Horses with sweet-itch will usually have hair loss, relentless itching and sores. For this you may need to contact your veterinarian.
If you've checked all of these and your horse is still rubbing their tail consult with your veterinarian as it could be dermatitis.
Tail rubbing can become a habit so get on top of it early!
Make sure your horse is on a good clean diet and has a healthy immune system. Sweet feed is not healthy. A horse that is fed sweet feed will secret “sweet sweat” which attract bugs. Health starts from the inside and goes outward.