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Dr. Hinson
Dr. Hinson, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1855
Experience:  11+ years experience in the veterinary field. Former trainer of show and race horses.
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My horses have sores around the lips and nose, what can cause

Customer Question

My horses have sores around the lips and nose, what can cause this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 8 years ago.
Do they have sores inside the mouth too or just outside?

Do they look like warts or are they actual red sores?

Are they eating?

Any drooling?

What kind of hay are they eating?

Have you changed hay recently?

How many horses are affected?

Dr. Hinson
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
There are two horses with no other animals around them, the sores are only on the outside of the mouth on the lips and nose, they are on alfalfa hay and we switched hay about a wek ago, same type of hay just from a different field. No drooling and they are still eating, they are open red sores.
Expert:  Dr. Hinson replied 8 years ago.
Well, since both horses are affected the sores have to be caused by something they were both exposed to. I would start looking at the food source, water source, something in the environment, something you have used on both horses (like a new fly spray) or a viral cause if the horses have been off the property recently and exposed to other horses.

So, I'd start with the food.   Alfalfa hay can be very stemmy and the stems can be sharp. The sores could be caused by the hay.   I think you should examine the hay closely to check for stems and also blister beetles.   If you feed grain, check that too.

Check the pasture for toxic weeds/plants. Some cause photosensitization (which can look like sores).

Try to think of anything new (new products, etc) that you have used on the horses.

If you start noticing sores inside the horse's mouths or if they start drooling you need to get your vet out there to check them out. Or if the sores get worse or don't get any better or if the horses stop eating or drinking.

I used to live in Colorado and I know there were some breakouts of vesicular stomatitis (VS) so I guess that is a possibility too. It is difficult for me to say without seeing the horses.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Dr. Hinson