What is the best and quickest scratches treatment?

What is the best and quickest scratches treatment? Used Equiderma shampoo and lotion, helped a little bit but did not clear it up.

My horses rarely get scratches anymore, but for whatever reason, this stuff works wonders for me when a case crops up:

I wash with some sort of antiseptic scrub (chlorohexidine or betadine), then slap the udder balm on the area.

I buy it at TSC.

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just got a thing of coat defense paste, thank you!

I have had great results with Beaudreaux’s butt paste (max strength). It’s diaper rash cream but worked wonders on the scratches on my mare’s white sock heels!

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I’ve had good luck with Schreiners Herbal Solution. I remove the scabs as best I can and then spray with the Herbal Solution. I like that it is easy to apply and it doesn’t attract dirt or bedding the way some creams do.

I agree with this - I love zinc oxide cream (the primary ingredient in most if not all diaper rash creams) for scratches. Usually clears it up in a few days. But as was just posted on another thread, if the diet is out of whack then you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.


Equiderma zinc oxide paste.

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From what I understand about Scratches, it is a skin irritation that is possibly triggered by environment --BUT the horse always carries the bacteria that makes the skin condition. Underlying cause is (again, as I understand it) is a “slow to respond” immune response. This can be due to age, health, stress, or genetic propensity. Regardless of the cause, left untreated, Scratches will resolve in an otherwise healthy horse in about 4-6 weeks.

And that’s the problem.

Everyone has a treatment for Scratches and they all work, because the horse heals itself in 4-6 weeks. I suppose some treatments can make the condition worse [I have seen people recommend bleach and Iodine, pretty harsh] --but for the most part, there seems to be no effect on healing rate regardless of what one uses or doesn’t use. Once the horse’s immune system kicks into gear, the Scratches resolve. Treatment makes the owner feel as if he/she has cured the horse, when the horse has cured himself. If you want to experiment --treat one leg and not the other. See if the condition resolves quicker one one side than the other.

But like every horse owner, I treat(ed) scratches on my heavily feathered Percheron (he was white and white feet seem to be more affected). He has gone over the Rainbow Bridge, and my bay horses don’t seem to ever get it. I used what we call “Tom’s” named after the groom who gave it to us --now we make our own. 1/3 C Desitin Diaper Cream; 1/3 C Furizone (yellow goo) mixed with 10 cc Dexamethasone. Be SURE to wear gloves when mixing and/or applying. We keep a small paint brush with the container to slather the goop on the area. This covers all basis. Desitin sooths, Furizone is an antiseptic, and Dex promotes healing (FYI do not use in horses that are drug tested --banned substance). Do not use on eyes. But good for all other skin conditions -bug bites, etc.

Clean and dry area (we kept a hand-held hair dryer in the barn for the purpose) --apply thick coat of “Tom’s” let horse sit for a few minutes, then turn out --the stuff stays on well. We treated once a day. But as I said, horse always cleared up in 4-6 weeks regardless.

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A mixture of desitin, triple antibiotic, antifungal cream and hydrocortisone or dex works better IMO than any expensive cream or spray you can buy made for horses. I’ve seen it clear up a pretty good case of scratches fairly quickly.

Treat the scratches, then address the diet deficiency that makes them prone to skin issues. Usually insufficient copper/zinc/vitamin E and omega 3.


You need something with sulphur in it. Best thing I’ve ever found (and I’ve had 2 with terrible annual scratches) is KrudZapper (https://www.amazon.com/Krudzapper-Topical-Ointment-Animals-Ounces/dp/B018BZHWPG)

I usually scrub with a medicated shampoo, clip all the hair off, then rub this stuff on daily. The scabs come off on their own and you get nice healthy skin underneath in a week or two.

I once talked to someone with a whole stable of Shire horses and asked how they kept them healthy and scratches-free. He said anything without sulphur was a waste of time.

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@Foxglove I never heard that theory, but it makes sense :+1:
I think “scratches” gets used generically, like “navicular”, for a variety of skin problems.

My TWH came to me from a friend whose herd of 4 had 2 horses that suffered scratches annually - he was one of them.
Her vet concocted an ointment that worked… At a price.
Sh sent along a small jar, but had no idea what the ingredients might be.
When I used it up, COTH provided me with a home remedy of equal parts diaper ointment, triple antibiotic & lotrimin.
Which did the trick. No recurrence in the 5+yrs I’ve had him.
Her other horse still gets an annual case & her vet supplies her with the Speshul compound.

IMHO, this seems to point to environment. Both our herds are pasture-kept, so I think something in her soil is the trigger.

Both the homemade ointment and the diet changes are both things that have worked the best for me. Sometimes I have to switch the ointment to furacin + dex, but one of those 2 variations usually works. Diet is the biggest long-term prevention key for scratches.

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Hey @BoyleHeightsKid, sorry for reviving this older thread, but I wanted to ask you approximately how long you would expect it to take for the diet changes to take hold enough to make a positive impact on the skin issues?

I got a horse in April that came with a nasty scratches/mud fever/skin infection. I’ve been treating him topically with various shampoos, creams, sprays etc. I can get it visibly cleared up, no scabs and pink skin growing in, but if I miss two days of leg washing it starts coming back with a vengeance. I’m going to get SMZs from my vet next week I guess, but I’m concerned it will tear his tummy up. He already gets pro biotics in addition to the tummy stuff in his triple crown senior. He gets a Cu/Zn supp, MSM and 1 cup of TC flax top dressed on his TCS. Mucho alfalfa hay. Clean stables and paddocks etc.

I’m at my wits end and my back is tired of leg washing!

Equiderma’s zinc treatment is the best I have found for scratches.

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It seems kinda pricy for what looks to be diaper rash cream with a dash of chlorohexadine?

Yes, it is pricey. But my Paint mare is about 75% white and with all that pink skin and white legs I often have to deal with scratches during monsoon season. I got tired of mixing up a witch’s brew of assorted ointments, so I broke down and bought the Equiderma. Worth it. And it’s a lovely aqua color, so there’s that added appeal.

  • Order it directly from Equiderma. I’ve heard that if you get it online (like from Amazon) you run the risk of it being dried and cakey.
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What would you say is the difference between Equiderma’s zinc oxide and 40% zinc oxide paste (diaper rash cream)? Theoretically I could splash some chlorahexadine in the diaper rash cream.

The volume of paste I would go through seems to indicate that I would need two cans of Equiderma to get through a week. That’s pretty dang pricy.

My guy has to go on SMZ’s every year for scratches. So far this year, he has not gotten them because we started using Shoo Fly boots. Hopefully this is the magic bullet. I just started a thread about it.


I saw your thread! I have a set and pulled them out. I’ll be slapping them on him today. I figure they may help keep the creams on him at the very least!

Usually vets reccomend their own scratches cream it works decently however my favorite soap for scratches is the pink dawn gentle clean(it used to say olay on it or something) it can be hard to find. My mare has been struggling with scratches behind for a while and it’s finally clearing up since using it. My mother happened to see a bunch of it a state over and remembered I wanted to get some. So I have a enough for a few years I think. :joy:

So I usually scrub it gently in and let it sit for like a minute and then rinse it. I think it works because it’s soothing it doesn’t completely dry out the skin.

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