Have I missed anything? Do we all agree that this can be so very frustrating and confusing? Not to mention time consuming and expensive.  Scratches can be caused by a variety of skin conditions including viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections. I am sure that I am not the only one totally frustrated with the itchy Friesian and trying to determine what the issue really is. The thing that is very perplexing for me is that out of all the Friesians that have come and gone from here, the only one that has had a problem with Scatches is my mare Trienke. I believe that there are a couple of reasons for this, one is that she has very thick feathering.  I also have come to believe that she may have Immune system issues that could also play a role for her. We have established that she has allergies and some of her hair loss and itchiness on other parts of her body are due to her being allergic to bug bites. I have used a very long list of products trying to rid our Trienke of her itchy legs. We manage to keep on top of it, but it never seems to stay away for very long. So keeping a close eye on it, checking often for signs and proper daily care is a necessity.  

 Chorioptic Mange, sometime referred to as "Mok", "Scratches" or "Mud Fever" is very common in feathered horses. It is a form of Equine Pastern Dermatitis that is caused by a parasitic skin mite and is characterized by dry scales and crusts around the pasterns. Mange irritates the skin making your horse itchy and uncomfortable. Affected horses often stamp their feet , or rub their legs together in response to the irritation. If left untreated, thickening of the skin and/or sores may also develop.  This is one of the big issues that effects the Freisian breed. Here are a few things that will help you to keep your feathered horse itch free. 

 Provide a clean, dry stall for all horses.

Avoid muddy or wet pastures and paddocks.  (this is a tough one in a Michigan spring)

Keep feathers as dry as possible.

Examine pasterns regularly for signs of scales and crusts.

To Treat mildly affected areas you can use Frontline (available online in large doses in a spray form on Amazon.com). 

Shampoo moderately affected areas with an antiseptic microbicidal shampoo or Betadine Scrub. You may also use antifungal selenium sulphide based shampoos like Selsun Blue. 

One of the things that has worked well for us is the MOK cream. You can have your vet help you with this as you will need to get the Medicines there. It is a recipe developed by the Dutch and is used by many Friesian owners, but can be used on any horse. The Amish also use a recipe that is very similar.

Mok Recipe:

 ½ jar Nitrofuazone

Add 1 tube Desitin (microwave the desitin and Furazone just enough to be able to blend them)

Add 40 mg Dexamethasone

10 ml Gentamycin

And 10 ml DMSO (90% liquid)

Stir all together till well blended

I have also used a product called NuStock (Can be purchased on Amazon)  for the itchy scaly patches on T’s legs and on the bug bite areas where she loses hair. I have found the sulfur products help to remove the scaly skin and help the hair to grow back very quickly.  NuStock is similar to the MTG, but does not run off like MTG does. MTG (can be purchased at Stateline Tack or many of your local TSC’s) is great for the heavily feathered areas and for manes and tails that are itchy, but might not be enough if you have a severe scratches problem with oozing or open sores. This is where the MOK cream can help.  If you have a real problem in the feathered areas around the pastern and fetlocks, you may have to shave the hair to get access to the sore spots. I know! All Friesian owners cringe at the thought, and I have to admit that I have avoided that. I have “thinned” spots to better get the creams on a spot. You can leave the hair around the effected spot and it will cover where you had to shave. I hope this helps a little, I would welcome any other remedies that you have found to work for you. One other note, as to the immune system issure, I have really had good results with getting rid of dry flaky skin on my Friesians with the addition of flax seed. I just feed a little, 1/4 cup once a day, but I grind it right before each feeding. I am hoping with further use that it may help with T's immune function and that I might see it also help with her itchy legs. 



08/11/2013 12:41pm

Who taught Mariska to unlock all these locks? She reminds me of Mr Ed , he unlocks the barn doors also. Ti could be dangerous to Mariska to get out like that, she could get hurt or even stolen. If she got out on the highway, she stands the chance of getting hit by a car or truck. Please fix it so she can't get out, for her saftey sake.

12/12/2013 1:42pm

HI Virginia, thanks for your concern for Mariska, but i assure you it is unwarranted. No one taught her to do this, she taught herself! We do have many back up locks in place and she is perfectly safe. The grain room is secure from her now that we know that she is such a smart girl.


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    Hi my name is Sandy Bonem. Here at Misty Meadows my husband Don and I enjoy the company of 4 Friesians, two quarter horses, 2 cats, 6 chickens, and we have one Friesian foal on the way. We are truly blessed.  

     Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.


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