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Equine Practice
Treatment of skin disease in the horse
  1. Sue Paterson

    Sue Paterson graduated from Cambridge in 1984. She is a partner at the Rutland House Veterinary Hospital in St Helens where she has run the dermatology referral service for the past 10 years, although equine cases are seen at the Ashbrook Equine Hospital in Knutsford. She holds the RCVS and European diplomas in veterinary dermatology and is a recognised RCVS and European College of Veterinary Dermatology Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology.

2. Topical therapy


TOPICAL therapy in small animals is an area that has received much attention over the past decade. There is a large range of topical dermatological products available to treat both the cat and dog, and plenty of published guidance on their usage. The horse, in comparison, has remained neglected. This is particularly disappointing as many owners routinely groom and shampoo their horses, purchasing products from their local animal feed wholesaler or saddler rather than their veterinary surgeon. The author uses many small animal products for horses and has found them to be safe and highly effective. However, even when recommended by a veterinary surgeon, clients may be reluctant to use products which do not carry specific indications for the horse. Topical therapy should not, where possible, be used as symptomatic therapy in place of a proper investigation and a specific diagnosis. In all cases, the attending veterinary surgeon should obtain a minimum database of skin scrapings, fungal culture and cytology. Topical therapy may be used to offer relief while the results of diagnostic tests are awaited and can then be used to augment other forms of treatment. In some circumstances, it can be used as the sole form of therapy. This article describes the use of topical therapy in the management of infectious, allergic, immunemediated and seborrhoeic disorders. Systemic therapy of equine skin disease was discussed in Part 1, published in the last issue (February 2003, pp 86-91).

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