STEVE: Dermatitis is a term that is utilized to describe inflammation of the skin or the integumentary system. In the horse, we recognize that they are coated or have hair on them, on top of their skin, and so typically what we see for evidence of dermatitis, we look for disruption of the hair coat itself. Dermatitis can be anything from fungus, to bacterial, to secondary from autoimmune problems, and right on down the line. Anything that disrupts or creates some sort of change in the skin or the hair coat typically is officially or recognized as a dermatitis.

Fungi in particular, create ringworm or localized circumscribed areas and we recognize that this is typically a fungus. Typically, rain rot is an infection in which you’ve got to use a systemic antibiotic in order to cure the infection in the hair follicle. Autoimmune problems can be anything from pemphigus right on down the line, so it really depends what the source is, recognizing first that you have a dermatitis using means to doing everything from an allergy right on down to autoimmune problem or bacterial or infectious causes. Recognizing that you have a dermatitis first is a primary problem, then recognizing how to get to the primary cause of it is the next thing, and typically, you’re going to need a veterinarian to get you help with this particular problem.

ALEX: I think a lot of it, too, is stable management and also your tack, keeping your tack clean, keeping your saddle pads clean, keeping your barn clean, the stall where the horses live, that that’s a clean environment. Do you ever find its feed related at any point?

STEVE: If it’s allergy, yeah, certainly. Food allergies are common in horses, we do see them all the time, and how you treat them, obviously, systemically and symptomatically first, and then sometimes topically after that.