What is the best and quickest scratches treatment?

I’m new to scratches too, have owned horses since I was in high school ( a looong time ago) but never had one with white socks, I guess. My two-year old filly does though, and just a couple of days ago I noticed some scabby, crusty areas on both pasterns. So I’m guessing it’s scratches, based off everything I’ve read. The bugs abated when the weather dried up a few weeks ago and I stopped putting her shoo-fly boots on - but they are back on now.

My treatment thus far has been is washing them (not scrubbing, just sudsing) with Betadine soap, then patting dry with paper towels, then coating first with cortisone cream (1%) and then generic diaper rash cream. I have the triple antibiotic on hand as well, but have not made a mixture yet - still need to locate Lotrimin or generic equivalent. I do think she’s getting better already though, simply by the way she’s acting to being treated - first washing and treatment she didn’t even want me touching the areas and constantly shifted, moved away, picked up her legs etc. to let me know she’d REALLY RATHER I DIDN’T!! But by the next morning, she stood rock still for all of it. So I find that encouraging. And shoo-fly’s are on while she’s out grazing, but not when when’s up in her paddock (very short grass)

So should I just keep doing what I’m doing with the two creams, or create the four-ingredient salve, continue or discontinue the sudsing? Thoughts on how I could handle this better are appreciated.

Also, I read about the nutritional aspect, and I’m not, at this time, supplementing any copper and zinc. Since the shoo-fly boots seem to be the miracle solution for avoiding it in the first place, it just seems like this is more of a contact dermatitis, more than a nutritional issue. My filly is on Triple Crown 30% Ration Balancer and TC Senior (just a half pound per feeding to make the RB taste better), so I’m pretty sure she’s getting what she needs with that. I live in south central Texas, on nasty black clay soil that grows fairly decent grass that I mowed religiously - but have not had it analyzed for any vitamin/mineral content or makeup. So could I be wrong about her not needing additional cu/zn?

Your horse may be getting “adequate” amounts of copper and zinc from ration balancer according to the bag…however if she is getting excess iron from hay, grass, or well water the iron will inhibit the uptake of copper and zinc, leaving her deficient. My well water is high in iron, so I add extra copper and zinc supplements to correct the ratio imbalance.

Commercial feeds will be balanced for an ideal iron:zinc:copper ratio, but that doesn’t account for extraneous sources of iron in the horse’s diet.


I’m actually on a water coop line (similar to “city water”), so I have to believe it’s stripped of just about everything, good and bad. I know they send out water reports, I’ll have to see if it includes iron.