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.
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.