Does your horse have a greasy coat? Time to investigate

A greasy coat is more than just a grooming challenge. Here are the possible causes and what you can do about them.

A horse’s thick winter coat is difficult enough to keep clean, but the challenge is even greater when a heavy coat is also greasy.

A combination of skin oils and grime can make a horse’s coat greasy during the winter.

Usually you’ll find greasy winter coats on older or ill horses. Caused by a combination of skin oils and grime, a greasy coat may signal pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). An endocrine disorder, PPID can cause a horse’s coat to grow particularly long and be slow to shed. If your horse develops a greasy coat, have him tested for PPID. Even if you know your horse has PPID, still check in with your veterinarian—it may be time to adjust medication levels to ensure that the condition is under control.

When a horse doesn’t have PPID but his coat is greasy, investigate other possible systemic causes. Poor diet can contribute to a greasy coat. Make sure your horse’s ration meets his nutritional needs and he is eating enough forage. A dental exam can ensure that the horse can adequately chew his meals.

After ruling out systemic illness and poor nutrition, review the horse’s blanketing and grooming routine. Blankets can hide a greasy coat. A winter blanket left on for long periods of time, can lead to a build-up of grime. Even if he is retired or rarely ridden, groom him regularly.

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