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Caring For Summer Sores On Horses In Australia

Caring For Summer Sores On Horses In Australia

Summer sores, while somewhat rare of a condition, are still extremely threatening to your horse’s health and well-being. It’s important to understand what they are, what causes them, and how to successfully treat them; continue reading to learn more.


caring for summer sores on horses in australia

What Are Summer Sores?

Summer sores typically start with a scratch or cut that, at first, seem minor. We all know that the occasional cut or scrape is inevitable.

Though we love our horses, they can be a bit clumsy at times, especially while enjoying some time romping in the paddock with their stablemates. 

There are some cases in which a minor cut or scrape can turn into a troublesome condition and the heat of the Australian summer can increase the chances of it.

This condition occurs due to naturally occuring parasite larvae.

Normally, the stomach worm known as Habronema resides in the horse’s stomach.

Their larvae is passed through the digestive system and are disposed of in fecal matter. When flies land on manure, they collect the larvae of the parasites on their legs.

If the fly happens to land on an open wound on the horse’s body, they may transfer the larvae into the wound. 

In turn, the larvae’s presence in the wound results in inflammation and infection of the tissues, causing what we know to be a typical summer sore:

  • Extremely irritated/itchy
  • Proud flesh (granulation tissue)
  • Dead tissue 
  • Mucus/pus discharge that may be mixed with blood
  • Failure to heal


caring for summer sores on horses in australia

Summer Sore Treatment

It’s very rare for a summer sore to heal without medical intervention. Once you have located the sore, place a call to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

The veterinarian will examine and diagnose the condition before beginning treatment.

In most cases, a topical or systemic glucocorticoid will be prescribed in order to reduce inflammation and encourage the tissues to heal themselves. 

In extreme cases, the affected tissue will have to be surgically removed using a process known as debulking; this is done to clear the way for the development of completely healthy tissue. 


Caring For Summer Sores On Horses In Australia

Avoiding Summer Sores

Of course, it’s important to know how to help your horse avoid summer sores whenever possible.

You can help your horse avoid developing summer sores by:

  • Implementing and following a strong parasite control strategy/deworming schedule
  • Ensure that stalls and paddocks are cleaned of manure at least twice each day
  • Invest in fly sprays, masks, sheets, and other protective fly gear
  • Properly care for and bandage any cuts and scrapes, no matter how minor

Speak with your horse’s veterinarian to determine if there are any additional ways for you to protect your horse from developing summer sores; he or she may have specific suggestions based upon your horse’s health condition, the region in which you live, and various other unique factors.

While of course it’s troublesome to see our horses struggle with a condition like summer sores, you can rest assured that following the tips and information you learned here, you can help them stay comfortable and happy.

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