Skin Infection In Horse : Symptoms And Treatment

horse skin infection


If you see a protrusion or a bump in your stallions body, watch out! It may be a boil.

A boil is a common skin ailment in horses that is caused due to a skin infection or an infection of the hair follicle. Shoe boil – a very common form in horses is caused when their elbow hits the heel of their shoe incessantly, causing repeated damage to the synovial fluid sac which supports the joint of the elbow. This inflammation causes swelling and thus the bump. When staphylococci bacteria come in contact with a damaged skin, it develops pus (seroma) forming a scab eventually. As the scab spreads, it becomes very painful.  Thus, it must be treated immediately to stop the infection from traversing deep into the tissues and releasing the pain.

Symptoms of Skin Infection 

  • Bump or protrusion
  • Skin lesion
  • Papule
  • Lameness (not in shoe boil cases)
  • Pain

Treatment And Prevention

The usual practice of treating a boil done by a vet is to rupture the boil by wiping it with hot water. Once all the pus is removed, an antibiotic ointment is applied to eliminate bacteria. The prevention method includes using a padded buckle that keeps the heel and the elbow apart, providing a soft support to the pastern.

Ensure your horseshoe is not longer than his feet. It should be of a perfect fit and the heel height should be comfortable. If at all the shoe is elongated or the heel is thick, ask the Ferrier to truncate the size to fit aptly. You can also ask him to add some soft padding in the shoe to make it comfortable as a wrong shoe can also abrade the skin and cause infection.

Also, avoid your horse from repeated exposure to rough and hard surfaces as it may emanate skin irritation which may ultimately lead to lesions and bumps.


Boils are irritating and painful when they turn into scabs. Therefore, prevention is better to avoid the situation in the first place. Keep a check on the overall health of your horse and make the best use of antiseptic solutions and shampoos to remove the bacteria from his skin regularly. And most importantly, choose the best size for his shoe.

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