Lice or dandruff? How to tell?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by sher327, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. sher327

    sher327 Senior Member+

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    OK, last weekend when I was grooming Casey for a ride I noticed that along his mane and withers he had what appeared to be thick dandruff. I examined it best I could and I could not see anything moving (I looked forever lol)

    Anyways, yesterday when I got him out again for a really deep brushing I noticed it again and it appears to be worse and on more parts of his body. He also is VERY itchy! His coat is still his thick winter woolies for the most part but it is pretty shiny, no bald spots/missing patches etc.

    The only other thing I noticed was he was rubbing/scratching his head on the trailer and would occasionally toss his nose up as if he was irritated but I am assuming that was from the God awful swarm of nats bugging us:rolleyes:

    So I checked Eddie and I see a very small amount of whatever it is at the base of his mane but nowhere else.

    Maybe I noticed it more this time because I was using the curry and the shedding blade instead of just the hard and soft brushes like last weekend??? Maybe I stirred up whatever is wrong with his skin. I just want to know if lice can look like dandruff and how to treat his skin whatever it is. I know its itching him but I don't know what the best thing is to buy???
     






  2. imacowgirl2

    imacowgirl2 Senior Member+

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    Put your hand against your horse where you see the stuff for a few seconds, then take it away. If its lice, there will be a lot where your hand was -- the lice migrate to the warmth of your hand. If its dandruff, there won't be any change ;)
     
  3. Painted Horse

    Painted Horse Senior Member

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    It is probably NOT lice, you described his symptoms and my mini horse does the same things when she is shedding, i can stand and scratch her really hard with a metal curry comb and she gets really flaky and It usually goes away after i clip her hair in the spring.
    If you could not see anything moving on his hair or skin then most likely he does'nt have lice, and you did say that you were using a curry and a shedding blade so i would'nt worry about it too much cause it will most like go away in a week or so.
    However i am no expert on lice:p
    __________________________________________________
     
  4. sher327

    sher327 Senior Member+

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    good thinking Imacowgirl2, hadn't thought of that!

    Painted horse, I hope you're right, I mean if its lice its not the end of the world but ick, I hope not lol

    It was definitely worse this time using the curry, last weekend I only used my stiff and soft bristled brushes for a quick groom and this time I was trying to really get deep down so maybe I did just stir up dry skin.

    Still, if he's that itchy or if it doesn't clear up on it's own is there a good horse shampoo anyone can reccomend to help with the dry skin? Maybe even something that isn't a shampoo but something I can work into his coat that doesn't need to be rinsed off? Its still really cold here some days and I don't have easy access to hot water or a way to get them really dry.
     
  5. Ryle

    Ryle Senior Member+

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  6. imacowgirl2

    imacowgirl2 Senior Member+

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    A vet I job-shadowed showed me that trick. We were at a barn call, and she laid her hand on a pony that the barn owner/manager said had "really bad dandruff", and after only two seconds of her hand being there, she pulled it away, and there were so many lice on that poor pony you could see her exact hand print :(

    But I agree with the others too, if you can't tell if its lice, it probably isn't. The lice that were on that pony were visibly moving, it would have been pretty hard to mistake them for dandruff.

    My horses also get really flaky at the end of winter, I believe from my inability to ever get their thick wooly coats truly clean all winter.
     
  7. sher327

    sher327 Senior Member+

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    Thanks Ryle! I have only seen lice once on an older pony and she had them pretty bad so it was obvious to see but I thought maybe it was just that she had them so bad.

    I am thinking that as usual maybe I'm just being paranoid lol I'm still trying to find out if there is anything I can do for him to make his skin better so it doesn't bother him as much. I don't like being itchy so I feel sorry for him.
     
  8. Fox Glove

    Fox Glove Senior Member+

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    Dandruff does NOT have legs :wink:


    Sorry I could'nt resist,
    Paula
     
  9. Ryle

    Ryle Senior Member+

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    :p Paula, so true!:p

    Sher,
    You can try adding vegetable oil to his diet or a skin/coat supplement.
     
  10. ejforrest

    ejforrest Senior Member+

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    Horse lice are brown and usually found down next to the skin. They can be hard to see unless you part the hair and use a light and a magnifying glass, but if you watch for a moment, you can see them moving around.
     






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