Horse Losing Hair

I’ve got a horse that has been in full time training. He went to the trainer with a show coat and 30 days later he has now blown his hair coat and looks like he is in the middle of winter. We’ve run a CBC which shows a few low normal ranges, which we then gave him a PowerPac. My question is, what makes a horse blow his show coat in this manner? Tommy and Candice

Dear Tommy and Candice,

A physical examination, bloodwork, and treating for parasites is a good approach, but your horse may have suddenly lost his coat simply due to stress. Although hair grows in cycles that are related to daylight and temperature, the quality and quantity of a coat is also affected by nutritional plane, certain health conditions and even stressful episodes. Since your veterinarian is working on ruling out medical issues–and I’m assuming that the training barn is correctly feeding your horse–he may just be reacting to changing barns and starting a new exercise program.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

Posted in Skin, Coat & Hooves

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3 comments on “Horse Losing Hair
  1. Kim Biggs says:

    The same thing happened to my young horse last year, and he HATES being hot. He started bucking and we could tell that he wasn’t happy. In addition to the vet, he saw the dentist and a chiropractor–neither could find anything wrong. He was fine after we had the idea to body-clipped him.

  2. Ima says:

    I believe mother nature, training, stress, medical or other issues can all play a part. If the vet rules out medical, I would not worry

  3. Heather says:

    He could have adrenal exhaustion syndrome, which I understand is a fairly common but under diagnosed issue with a younger horse who is in work or under stress. Bloodwork taken over a 24 hour period to measure levels before and after exercise would confirm an issue like this. It is treated with either time off or with steroids. We have a young horse who had this problem.

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