Chronic Scratches - ideas and suggestions welcome!

I haven’t tried that brew with monistat or Dex, just the other ingredients. Thanks for sharing

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@Zevida the copper and zinc thing: how much to feed is relative to several things. Like the size of the horse and how much is in their diet already, but also relative to how much iron is in their diet, because iron inhibits absorption of copper and zinc. And it’s pretty easy for horses to get too much iron.

So, to answer your question about how much Cu and Zn to supplement? “It depends” and “more than you’re feeding now” are both valid replies.

Personally having battled scratches ineffectively with a dozen concoctions and daily ministration, adding Cu and Zn was by far the easiest and most effective cure I’ve ever seen.


Thanks for posting this! We use the Silver Whinnies awith great success. I have not yet seen the bells. Getting a pair today!

Hope they work as well for you as they did for me. Cleared up the scratches in 3 days on mine!

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So chronic scratches boy’s culture/ sensitivity test results are in. He has multiple infectious things that are only treatable by some abx administered IV only. Needs done for 5-7 days.

Just super. I can do IM but not IV. What am I gonna do? Hospitalize him?

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Oof. I’m glad you have an answer but that’s a rough treatment! It does seem like you’ll have to price out hospitalization vs a daily visit from your vet to do the IV meds.

What do you think it was that did it with the silver bells? Just keeping them clean and dry so they could heal? Or did you think it has something to do with the silver? (I’m skeptical of the silver)

Silver has a long, valid history of helping topically (NOT orally!) help heal wounds, with its antibacterial properties.


Yes. I’m glad I didn’t waste money trying more random oral abx. His E/Se test came back normal. Still awaiting his PPID test results. Vet will give me quote for hospitalization when she calls with PPID test results. Will go from there.


Depending upon the horse and your DVM, possibly have an indwelling IV catheter put in. Then you can administer the medication at home.


That’s a good idea. I will ask about that!

Thanks - I guess I have a hard time believing that silver coming in incidental contact will have a stronger effect than actual antibacterial ointment applied directly to the wound.

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Still sounds like my chronic scratches boy. Vet was out last Thursday and oral SMZs had settled things down to where she didn’t want to do a culture. Added oral dex taper and scratches have dried and are looking less angry and irritated. She said to lay off the topicals for now as they may be creating an overly moist environment, just keep clean and dry. Did your vet indicate that if the chronic infection is treated the scratches will go away? In other words, are there any environmental factors exacerbating them or are you dealing with a chronic infection?

My theory is that friction/movement from the bells also help remove the scabs so the treatment can get to the skin. I always felt like with the topicals I was just medicating the scabs and not the infected skin underneath. He’s pasture boarded and has low heels so trying to wrap his fetlocks never worked well. I tried antibiotics first; they just didn’t work very well.

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We discussed environmental factors ie mud, but vet was able to see plainly I don’t have any mud. I’ve kept him off wet grass pretty consistently for the past 6 months with no change. My paddocks are very clean and horse is never locked in a stall. So it seems unlikely it’s an environmental trigger.

Vet does feel like that the abx would clear it up (pending his PPID test is negative; if positive that may be a factor). Gentamicin is the abx he needs.

I did a 30 day course of SMZ tabs previously that made no difference. Now I know why I guess!

The vet clinic is close by and they are set up nicely for horses. Big grass paddocks and several barns. He wouldn’t be in ICU or anything so I don’t think it would be cost prohibitive, but it’s tricky as I only have two horses. I don’t fancy having to keep one home alone. I’m hopeful that @Ghazzu idea of some sort of catheter will be an option.

Glad to hear your guy seems to be on the mend!

Not for scratches, but when my other horse had a summer sore we started with a colloidal silver ointment mixed with ivermectin (per vet) as the topical dressing (wrapped). The results were quite good.

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I’m wondering if mine is on the mend only temporarily - based on history I’m afraid the scratches will be back even if the infection clears up. Vet did mention a stronger antibiotic. Please keep me posted. I’m sending him to a rehab center while I am out of town where his legs will be kept clean and dry.

If the clinic is close by, see if they can send a tech over to do the IV injections for you. You could also see if the tech could come help show you and watch you a few times do the IV injection yourself until you are comfortable you can do them. I’ve found that at least for my horse who likes to hide his vein, hold off low and a lot longer than vets to before you insert the needle.


Is there a particular form? Is colloidal silver (what concentration) or silver sulfadiazine preferred? I’m dealing with some stubborn scratches right now - Uckele ran out of poly copper so I wasn’t feeding that for a few weeks and had decreased the zinc and boom, bad scratches.

These chronic cases are tough! Hopefully the meds will clear your boys infection and the skin can get nice and strong while he is at rehab and he won’t have have any more troubles. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you and your horse!

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