Horses with pink skin on any area of their body are prone to sunburn, but around the eyes and around the muzzle tend to be the most-commonly affected areas. However, photosensitivity in horses can also cause a sunburn-like reaction, reports The Horse.
Sunburned horses will have skin that is dark pink or red, as well as blisters or scabs on the skin. If it's truly sunburn a horse is dealing with, it's helpful to use a fly mask that has an extended nose to cover as much of the muzzle as possible when the horse is outside. Additionally, some masks have UV protection in them, which can aid in blocking the sun's burning rays. Applying zinc oxide to sensitive areas can also help, but the formulation must be waterproof. This product will need to be reapplied daily, if not more often.
To better prevent burns, be sure the horse has access to shade to get out of the sun or swap him to night turnout if feasible. Additionally, the use of UV-blocking fly sheets is an option to help keep damaging rays from reaching skin.
If a horse is showing damage on its shoulders of neck, this is most likely not true sunburn as most horses have enough hair in these areas to protect skin from the sun's rays. Issues in these areas are generally caused by the ingestion of poisonous plants; the photodynamic agents from the plants then circulate to the skin where they are exposed to light and damage the skin.
Contact dermatitis is also a possibility; this can be from products applied to the horse, like fly spray, or from plants growing in the pastures, like buttercups.
Read more at The Horse.
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