Tuesdays with Tony
It’s a wound, it’s a tumor, no wait…it’s a summer sore! The docs have been reporting a lot of these ugly things recently. Maybe it’s the weather we’ve been having. Maybe it’s just the fact that we are lucky enough to live in glorious Florida!! Whatever the reason, summer sores have been popping up left and right, so here I am to tell you what to do about them.
Summer sores are gross
I hope you’re not eating, because this is pretty gnarly. Summer sores happen when larvae from the stomach worm Habronema are deposited in a wound or mucous membrane. Yuck! The larvae cause a severe inflammatory reaction in the skin, which creates the red, thickened, oozing granulation tissue we so fondly recognize as a summer sore. They commonly occur on the legs, in the inner corners of the eyes, on the sheath, or in the corners of the mouth. I’ve never had one myself, but they don’t look like much fun.
“Summer sores” are not always summer sores
If you suspect your horse has a summer sore, the first thing you should do is definitely call Springhill Equine. There are certain more severe skin conditions (sarcoids, pythium, squamous cell carcinoma) that can masquerade as summer sores, so a proper diagnosis by one of our docs is important. The treatment for these skin conditions is not the same across the board, and treating them like you would a summer sore could actually make them worse.
How to kick a summer sore’s butt
First, deworm your horse with oral Ivermectin, if you haven’t already. This will not only kill any stomach worms in his belly, but also any larvae living in the wound on his skin. Then, put some antibiotic ointment with steroid on it. The steroid will help with that excessive inflammatory response to the larvae, and the antibiotic will prevent the wound from becoming infected. Finally, cover the area with something loose that will keep flies off. On the face, a long-nose fly mask works best. On the legs, Sox for Horses are great. In aggressive cases, one of the docs may have to surgically remove and/or inject the summer sore to get it to go away. Also, winter helps (providing we actually get a winter this year).
I doubt you will have any questions, because I am pretty much perfect when it comes to explaining things. But if you do, you can always give me a call or a visit here at the clinic, and I will direct you to one of our three amazing docs in exchange for some scratches right there behind my ear.
Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!