Does this sound like your horse?
From TheHorse.com: “Insect bite hypersensitivity is the most common cause of pruritus (itchiness) in horses, affecting equids in almost all parts of the world,” van den Boom said in the study, adding that IBH is an allergic reaction to insect bites. Clinical signs include scratching and rubbing, excoriations (areas where the skin is rubbed off), oozing of serum, patchy alopecia (hair loss), scaling, and hyperkeratosis (callousing).” (article on ointments that can help bug bite sensitivity.)
It sounds like mine. Skin rubbed off – check. Oozing of serum – check. Hair loss – check. Callousing – check.
Apparently Insect Bite Sensitivity is an actual condition in horses, and Ace has more than a few of the symptoms. When I left for a week long beach vacation, Ace had a few bug bite callouses on his back that he’s had most of the summer. When I returned, he had two spots that looked like small wounds oozing serum – one on his neck and one on his belly. He has more calloused bumps than when I left. He also has a handful of small, hairless, scaly patches. It sounds like a lot when they are added up, but his symptomatic areas are small and generally not that noticeable unless you are grooming and looking for issues.
From what I can find, all advice for dealing with bug bite hypersensitivity has to do with preventing insect bites in the first place. Use fly spray, masks and sheets, feed through bug control supplements, and avoid turning out during the buggiest times of day. But what do you do to get rid of the pre-existing skin issues?
Horse owners of similarly-sensitive-skinned horses: go! What have you found to work for getting rid of callouses and other skin issues caused by insect bites in your hypersensitive horse?