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.

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!

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.

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Equiderma zinc oxide paste.

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.

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.

@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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