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Consider Dermoscopy for Equine Skin, Coat ConditionsBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 27, 2017

Skin and coat problems occur frequently in horses. One simple, affordable technique that equine practitioners use to help diagnose dermatologic conditions is dermoscopy.

“Dermoscopy is a noninvasive procedure that can be as simple as using a handheld magnifying unit to assess a horse’s skin and coat to more sophisticated procedures involving smartphone connectors for magnifying and storing images and videos,” described Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

According to a recent study*, dermoscopy can easily and economically be performed in equine patients. During dermoscopy, clinicians assess the following:

  • Hair shafts;
  • Hair follicles from which an individual hair grows;
  • Areas around the hair follicles and the associated blood vessels;
  • Appearance of pigmented skin lesions; and
  • Inflammatory and potentially infectious skin diseases.

Once an accurate diagnosis is made regarding a skin condition, an appropriate treatment can be instituted.

“Nutrition plays a huge role in the overall quality of a horse’s coat. The first step in improving coat quality is ensuring a balanced diet is fed, a diet supplying all of the required nutrients. To analyze your horse’s diet, consult with a KER nutrition advisor,” relayed Crandell.

“After an appropriate diet has been instituted, consider nutritional supplements specifically designed with the coat and skin in mind. KER offers Bio•Bloom PS in the United States and Bio•Bloom in Australia, and these products contain key nutrients for hoof and hair health, including biotin, methionine, zinc, and iodine.”

In addition, look for KER’s omega-3 fatty acid supplement EO•3. This product helps horses suffering from insect bites, allergic reactions, and a myriad of other inflammatory conditions.

*Legnani, S., E. Zini, P. Roccabianca, et al. Dermoscopic analysis of the skin of healthy Warmblood horses: A descriptive study of 34 cases in Italy. Veterinary Dermatology. In press.