Why Is My Horse Losing Hair? Big Patches Are Coming Off!

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Allison Price

Horses can lose their hair due to allergies, insects, skin conditions, heat, heat, and medical conditions. Horses can also scratch and itch irritated areas, creating bald spots. Permanent or temporary hair loss can occur in specific areas, or throughout the body.

Horse owners want their horses’ coats to be shiny and healthy. Hair loss can cause hair loss. Hair loss can be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Over-the-counter products can help treat many of the causes of horse hair loss. A website that sells shampoos, dewormers, horsefly sprays and other products at affordable prices caught my eye. I thought it was worth sharing.

Common causes for hair loss in horses

There are many things that can cause hair loss in horses. I will focus my attention on parasites, bacterial infections and other medical conditions. It is important to identify if the source of the animal’s hair loss is external or internal.

This means that your horse is most likely suffering from an insect infestation or another medical condition. Horses are irritated by insects because they can cause damage to their coats, sores and bleeding.

Horses who rub their hair away often leave broken strands and cause irritation.

Horses are affected by insects that cause hair loss.

Horses are often harmed by bloodsucking insects. They can be a nuisance to horses’ health and well-being.

Horses often stomp, rub, and switch their tails constantly due to these arthropods. These insects can not only increase stress levels but also negatively impact their health and transmit disease.

Why Is My Horse Losing Hair?

While some insects can be seen easily, others are small enough that you may not even notice them. A tiny arthropod may only be 1 millimeter in size. This is dangerous because they can infest horses and cause severe skin or hair problems.

Horse Flies

Female horse fly The biters, who sink their cutters in horses and suck their blood, are the biters. The problem is that the blood flows even after they have flown off.

Horse flies release blood that attracts other pests to the area.

Gnats and midges

Biting grants are tiny, but can cause severe pain. These creatures will swarm around the horse’s stomach and wiggle their tails.

They can sucking blood from their host by opening the flesh with their painful bites. Large numbers can cause blood to ooze out of the animals, resulting in scabs that eventually lead to hair loss.

Horses can get itchy from their bites. This can cause the area to become bald. Horses can become allergic to gnat bites and experience severe reactions.

These biting and flying gnats are also carriers of Onchocerca, which is a threadlike parasitic that causes skin lesions in horses and itching. A skin scrape is usually required to confirm the diagnosis. Ivermectin can be used to prevent Onchoceraca cervicalis.

They also liked the horses’ belly and flew around their tails and manes. These annoying insects have one thing in common: they fly only during the summer months, and they are most active at dusk.

You can keep them away from your horses by using a fan. Gnats are often found in fields so you can spray pastures with insecticides to reduce their numbers.

Stable Flies

Because of their painless bites, stable flies are often called “biting bugs” or “biting flies”. They don’t discriminate and will bite any mammal. They are bloodsuckers, and they are most active in spring.

Stable flies are similar to common houseflies, measuring about 1/4″ in length. However, unlike houseflies, stable flies have a long nose that they use to suck blood from hosts.

They can spread disease to open wounds by infecting them with worm larvae. This causes inflammation and infection. These pests can cause hair loss and itching by causing sores.

Horn fly

Horn flies are small flies that gather around cattle. They were most commonly seen around cattle’s horns. However, they are often found on the backs or under their bellies.

They can be blood suckers and will attack horses that are kept with cattle. They travel in large numbers and attack horses with their hair. Horses can experience extreme itching and hair loss when they are attacked.

Black Flies

Black flies, also known as buffalo gnats, are tiny biting flies. They can fly in large swarms but, unlike other biting flies they are not known to spread disease.

Their bite can cause swelling, bleeding and itching. Hair loss can be caused by the itching and bleeding. They are also extremely annoying because they gather in large numbers.

Black flies feed on the horses’ stomach, head, neck and stomach.


In my area of South Louisiana, mosquitoes are common and can cause skin irritations, sores and hair loss. They can also transmit infectious diseases. Horses often rub the areas that have been bitten.


Most of the problems caused by botflies are in horses’ stomachs and intestines. They can also cause hair loss and infections by causing lesions.

Botflies lay eggs on horses’ front legs, shoulders and lips. These eggs travel to the horse’s stomach and make their way into the horse’s mouth. Primarily, the larvae pass through horse manure.

Some can migrate under the skin and into mucous membranes, where they can erupt. Botflies are not dangerous to horses and don’t bite.


There are several types of biting horse lice. These parasites feed on blood and can be found on horses’ heads, necks, manes, tails, and legs. Horses can be irritated by lice, which cause them to bite, stomp, rub, and even bite themselves.

Although lice don’t cause hair loss in horses directly, they can cause hair to fall by rubbing against fence trees and posts until the hair falls off.


Ticks have been increasing in prevalence on horses. They can cause irritation to the skin, which can lead to hair loss and rubbing against trees or posts.

It is important to inspect your horse for ticks every day during grooming. They can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease and cause anemia through blood loss.

Ticks are found in grass and will board horses’ legs as they walk bye. Ticks will often migrate to the horses’ chests, underbelly or inside their flank.

Bacterial infections

  • Rain Rot

Rainrotis an infection that can affect horses’ toplines and cause them to lose large amounts of hair. This bacteria can be spread in a variety of ways. It attacks areas with weak skin.

Excessive moisture and insect bites can make horse skin vulnerable. Horses with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to being affected.

Rain rot can cause raised hair and crusty lesions. The crust can be rubbed off and patches of hair will be removed. Horses’ heads, backs, and hindquarters are the most affected areas.

Rain-rot can quickly spread if it is not treated.

  • Ringworm

Ringworm isn’t a primary bacterial infection. However, I include it here because damaged skin from ringworms can lead to secondary infections.

Ringworm is a skin infection that can be caused by fungus. It affects horses, as well as other animals. Ringworm skin lesions begin as raised areas with hair loss.

It is a dermatophyte disease that can easily be transmitted between horses, particularly those who share tack and stalls. It is resistant and can live for long periods of time on barn structures and items.

These lesions can multiply, forming thicker dry scabs. Itchy and sore are common symptoms. The condition can become severe if it is not treated.

It is very difficult to manage the fungus because horses can become infected for several weeks without showing any symptoms. It doesn’t have symptoms so it can be present and spread to other animals.

Ringworm can be difficult to diagnose. A vet will be able to take a few hairs and test them for the fungus. Most cases can be treated with antifungal lotion or medicated shampoo.

Antibacterial Shampoo

Fly Spray

Ringworm Cream

Antifungal Shampoo

Horses can lose their hair due to medical conditions.

Pastern Dermatitis

Pastern dermatitis is more common in horses with feathers on the lower legs of their breeds, such as Clydesdales and Friesians. It causes irritation to the skin on the lower legs.

Pastern dermatitis does not necessarily require horses to have feathers. Pastern dermatitis can also be caused by horses who are kept in pastures or paddocks . The risk of pastern dermatitis is even greater if the ground is not clean.

It manifests as redness, crusting and hair loss in the area. This can be caused by bacteria, fungus and mites. It is best to dry the affected area. I recommend blow drying your hair after washing.

Skin cancer

A sarcoid can be a benign skin cancer and cause hair loss. They are found in the groin and around the animal’s head. They are often mistaken for proud flesh.

There are many types of sarcoid cancers. The most aggressive type of Sarcoid tumor is verrucose. They are flat and look like scars or ringworm syndrome. Others, like fibroblastic, are more aggressive and require immediate attention.

Bovine papilloma, or BPV, is responsible for skin cancer tumors that aren’t painful. Although it is not confirmed, it is believed that the disease can be transmitted from horse to horse. It is interesting to note that the same virus responsible for cervical cancer in women is papillon.

The treatment of cancer tumors can include surgery, cryotherapy, vaccines, and surgery. If you suspect that your horse may have skin cancer, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will advise you on the best course of action.

Seasonal Alopecia

Like all animals, horses shed and develop protective layers with the changing seasons. Horses’ coat thickens in winter, and thins in spring.

Some horses may lose their natural balance and begin to lose or grow hair beyond the normal schedule. Seasonal alopecia is a condition known as hormonal imbalance.

Seasonal alopecia causes horses to lose their hair, but they often grow their hair back without any side effects. If your horse does not grow a thicker coat, it is important to keep him warm during winter.

Hair loss can be caused by hay or grass.

The trace mineral selenium may cause hair loss, brittle hooves and other signs of lameness. Although it is essential in small amounts, too much can have severe consequences.

Horses can be killed by an acute selenium overdose. Selenium poisoning is usually a chronic condition. Chronic selenium poisoning can result in hair loss and selenium toxicity when some hay or grass are consumed regularly by horses.


What causes hair growth in horses

A proper diet promotes hair growth. Horses require a balanced diet rich in vitamins, protein, and amino acids. Horses with a healthy diet have shiny hair and a full head.
Hair growth can be stunted and dullened if horses don’t get enough minerals and proteins. A horse’s coat can indicate how well it has been treated and its overall health.

Is it possible to ride a horse with hair loss?

The location of the hair loss and its cause will determine whether you ride your horse. Don’t ride a horse if the area is infected, wet or raw. You can ride horses that have mild hair loss and allow them to dry out for a few minutes, then wash them. This article explains how to ride a horse suffering from rain rot. You can also learn how to treat it.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!