Q: My 3-year-old filly has recently become very sensitive around her ears. There is a sheet of white scabs on the inside of each ear. What is this, and why is it causing her pain? Is there anything that can be done to get rid of it?
Roll-on insecticides help to deter the flies. Better yet, the fly masks that include ear netting keep them out altogether. Providing a barrier to the flies enables your horse’s ears to heal. You may need to treat with a topical corticosteroid cream to improve your horse’s comfort in the meantime.
If the hair inside the ear makes it difficult to treat topically, it helps to clip this hair away. Be sure to put cotton in your horse’s ears before doing this so clipped hairs don’t fall into the ear canals.
Be aware that other skin syndromes can develop within this area. Problems such as sarcoids (benign tumors) or warts should be ruled out by your veterinarian before you begin any topical medication.
NANCY S. LOVING, DVM, is a performance horse veterinarian based in Boulder, Colo., and is the author of All Horse Systems Go.
This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!