Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

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He's developing lumps
Q I have a six-year old Welsh Cob driving pony. In the summer months he developed quite a few hard lumps all over his body, which the vet diagnosed as collagen lumps.

Despite the colder weather, he has developed more. They continue to appear and look unsightly. He is driven out regularly and they don't seem to bother him. Can you suggest anything to get rid of these?

A.The lumps you describe are quite common and often start during the summer months when conditions are hotter and horses are more likely to get allergic reactions. Such lumps are thought to be caused by allergic reactions but no one really knows why such reaction occurs. They may be started by fly bites or can be a reaction to something in the food or natural proteins in the body.

As such lumps appear it is possible to treat them with corticosteroids by injection or topically with a cream but relief is often temporary. I suggest you try anti-inflammatory creams from your vet or herbal creams which may dampen any inflammatory reaction. DMSO ointment from your vet may be particularly helpful.

Besides the above conventional treatment, I would suggest that you try to avoid over-feeding with protein-rich food. I would also suggest you try to boost your horse's liver and digestive function with suitable herbal mixes which might for example contain dandelion and milk thistle or Eclipta alba. Some specific topical herbal mixes that are on the market may be best of all. There are also a few herbal anti-inflammatory agents around which can also improve coat condition and prevent the worst of such problems.

Most of such formulae are designed for treatment of sweet itch but could help your problem. Herbs in such formulae may contain plants such as nettles, dandelion, cleavers, cedrus deodara and turmeric.

More about Lumps

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