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Hey, Bob! Just had a visit to your website and already feel like I know everyone. I will certainly say a few prayers for Tracie.

I live in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. My good friend for years, moved north to Huntsville. We are three hours, door to door. My husband and I get there about six times a year and love every minute. She raises mule babies. She has a couple of quarter horse mares, a jack, a donkey, some cows and a pig or two.

Donkeys seem especially vulnerable to Jack Sores Here is the problem. "Woody" the donkey gets sores on his back legs in the hot weather. The vet calls them "Jack Sores" and in horses "Summer Sores." I've had horses for years and a donkey, but never encountered this problem. Here's what we know for sure -- helminths of the skin; cutaneous habronemiasis. What a mouthful! The local vet got the drugest to mix up a recipe of antiboiotic, anti inflamatory, anti fungal cream. It works real good, but the cost is about $100.00 for four oz. The skin looks like the hair just came off. Red in color, but not all bloody unless he bites and chews at them. I think they must be ichy. These animals are looked after better than some people I know. I would just like to find someone who has some input on this subject. Linda is not on line yet, but I would be happy to send any information on to her. If you have some spare time I would love to hear from you.

Regards - M. B.


Jack Sores, or Summer Sores (so-called because they tend to flare up in warm weather and go away in winter) are caused by the larvae of stomach worms. The little critters are carried by flies and will generally make themselves at home in a horse's (donkey's, mule's) stomach, lungs, eyes, or skin. The results can range from annoying and unsightly to fatal. Young and thin-skinned animals are especially susceptible to the pests.

The problem occurs all over the world, and several studies have indicated that roughly half of the equine population is infected with stomach worms. (That's another point in favor of having all horses under human management, rather than having them run "wild and free" -- and sick and miserable.)

Ivermectin is probably the most effective treatment for both internal and external pests (remembering, of course, that this is just your garden-variety cowboy speakin' -- you should always check with your vet about medicines). There are some other treatments that may help in a pinch, including a 0.5% solution of old-fashioned Chlorox. In serious cases of infected sores, surgery may even be needed to remove the dead or diseased skin.

Ultimately, the best treatment is prevention. This includes a regular program of wormers -- about every six to eight weeks in warm weather, less often in winter. Do everything you can to keep flies at a minimum, including fly traps, proper disposal of manure and bedding from stalls, rotating pastures, elimination of fly breeding sites, and removal of fly eggs from tack and the animals' coats. Be especially diligent to keep flies from infecting the horses' food and water. It's probably a good idea to isolate infected animals from the rest of the herd. Faithful application of a good repellant will also help keep infected flies away from our four-legged friends.

Happy Riding!


Here's a follow up on the treatment of a case of Summer Sores....

You are right, Ivermectin did the trick on my mare's summer sore. For two years we suffered with this and when I finally identified it in an old veterinarian manual we decided to put the ivermectin on topically when doing the regular worming. Voila!!!! No more sore.

Well, the proud flesh that built up is still there but no more "blow ups." Usually by early July the thing was nasty, but not this year.

Please pass this along!

- J. S.

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