The Main Causes for Hair Loss and Coat Abnormalities in Horses

Horses grow two different types of coat. The winter coat is thick and heavy. It sheds in the spring in order to be replaced by a summer coat that is much lighter. The environmental temperature doesn't trigger this process of coat change. The lengthening and shortening of daylight time causes this phenomenon. During the different seasons, day length can trigger specific response in horses. Horses have pineal grand that produces less or more melatonin during different seasons and that strongly influences hair growth. Pineal gland can have some minor dysfunctions and it can cause abnormalities in a horse's hair growth.

There are some horses that don't have this normal coat replacement pattern. They grow hair regularly, but they lose it in some particular areas of their body. This kind of condition is called seasonal alopecia. The main reason for this condition might be an imbalance inside the pineal gland. There is a special treatment of seasonal alopecia and it is called melatonin supplementation. This treatment is usually used to treat seasonal alopecia in dogs. However, there is not enough information about the benefits and efficiency of this special treatment in horses.

There are also some other causes that can trigger hair loss in horses, such as fever or stress. Older horses usually have abnormalities in their hair coat because of the intermedia dysfunction of their pituitary pars. This condition is called equine Cushing's disease.

If there are quartz halogen or fluorescent lights in paddocks and stables, they can cause shedding abnormalities because of the fact that the light wavelength from these lights is almost the same as that of the natural sunlight. In order to prevent hair loss of your horses, you need to keep them on natural lighting conditions.

If there is a significant loss of hair in the winter season, horses should be kept in a warm place or blanketed in their horse barn. If horses have a very thin coat in the summer season, there is a serious danger of sunburns and they need to be observed regularly. Beside these considerations, there are no other negative effects of seasonal alopecia on a horse's health condition.

You should consult you vet when you notice any unnatural changes or hair loss on your horses. This is especially important when there are some signs of pathological changes, such as dermatitis. Veterinarians can use different kinds of diagnostic tests, such as skin scraping, skin biopsy and fungal culture to find a correct diagnosis for that particular skin condition.

It is important to notice any changes in a horse's coat condition in early stages. This way it can be treated in an easier way. Fur condition is not only important for aesthetic purposes. Coat is a natural protection that helps horses to stay healthy during different seasons. Horses with thin fur and hair loss are especially vulnerable in winter. You need to notice these conditions and find the right way to prevent any further health problems of your horse. You should also groom your horses regularly in order to keep their hair nice and shiny.