Over the past week, I’ve been trying to determine the cause of hair loss on my gelding’s back legs. I’m going to share my observations, pose some potential ailments, and then ask you for your best guess. It’s not serious, and I haven’t felt the need to call my vet. So let’s see what we come up with!
- June 23 – the last day of a two-day horse show. I removed Moe’s Back on Track therapeutic hock boots in the morning – I use them after jumping to prevent arthritis pain. The joint was sweaty from wearing the boots all night, and two round bumps had formed on the point of the hock. I cold hosed and walked. The bumps were not hot or painful, and Moe displayed no stiffness. Over the next two weeks, the bumps reduce in size until they are completely gone.
- Week of June 30 – at the site where the bump had been on the right hock, a small patch of hair appears to stand up. A scab forms under the hair.
- July 5th and 6th – the scab comes loose and reveals smooth pink skin underneath. There is no bleeding. A smaller patch of hair begins to stand up in the same location on the left hock.
- Week of July 14 – new hair begins to grow on the right hock, and the same scab forms and comes loose from the left hock. Again, smooth pink skin is revealed beneath.
- July 27 – as new hair grows fills in the patch on the right hock, I can see that it is white and not chestnut. The hair on the smaller patch also appears to be coming in white.
I took these photos of the patches on Sunday:
At first, the way the hair stood up from scabs forming on the skin led me to suspect rain rot. But it’s not that common in Manitoba in the summer because of our hot, dry conditions. We have had a lot of rain, but my horse is stabled indoors during bad weather. His hocks do tend to sweat under the Back on Track boots, but I have been using them regularly since May and the condition has not worsened or reappeared.
Now that the hair has grown in, I suspect trauma. Have you ever seen the white patches that form on the withers of a horse wearing too narrow a saddle? That’s what these patches remind me of. Moe lays down to sleep every night in his stall – is it possible that he somehow banged in hocks while getting up or down in his stall at the horse show?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these strange patches.