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Discuss Dull coat - what could it be? at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

Astro has quite a dull, unhealthy looking coat...I don't know why? Here is what I ...
  1. #1
    Cavalier's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    Question Dull coat - what could it be?

    Astro has quite a dull, unhealthy looking coat...I don't know why? Here is what I have done and therefore ruled out:

    Ulcers - He was scoped about 1 month ago

    Worms - I had a feacal count done at the same time as the scope...worm
    count was normal. He is wormed every 8 weeks, bendizole in the winter and mectin for the other 3 seasons. Paddocks cleaned and rotated.

    Stress - He went through a mental breakdown about 6 weeks ago, so I rested him, and got him checked over, put him on a probiotic etc and he is now absolutely fine.

    Diet - His diet is balanced, containing mostly roughage...my equine nutritionist helped me to formulate it. He gets grass hay, lucerne hay, oaten chaff, lucerne chaff, pellets, lupins, boiled linseed, barley, vit/min supplement and an electrolyte when he sweats heavily.

    Hair test - I got my equine herbalist to hair test him (brings up tonnes of stuff) and she found liver and nervous system probs, so he was on a mix, but with no change to his coat?

    Grooming - he gets ridden 5-6 days a week and always gets groomed before and after work. I really do think its an internal problem though.

    The only thing I haven't done is blood tests. But what exactly should I be getting tested?

    I don't want to put him on a coat supplement, because I want him to shine from health - not oils and other coat enhancing supplements.

    He has previously had a very shiny coat, so I know that its possible for him.

    He is fully vaccinated, all the other horses around him are healthy, all his vital signs are consistantly normal, he drinks plenty of water, he's working like a champion, in every other way he seems perfectly healthy, just not his coat?

    Its hard to say when it all started...his coat probably started deteriorating about 3 months ago...no major changes between now and then.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Moderator
    belle4's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
    Isn't it winter in your neck of the woods? My horses are never as shiney in the winter. Also, it could be just damage from the sun and the elements after spending the summer and fall outside.

    It sounds like you have really went the extra mile to find the cause. Good luck on your search.

  3. #3
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    madvoice's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Townsville, QLD - The Sunshine State!
    Get him tested for anemia (bloods) if you're really concerned but it sounds like the winter 'dulling' more than anything.
    Sep 1997 - 15 Jan 2006 ~Fry Baby I'll Miss You~
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  4. #4
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    Sue B's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Most horses are not anemic...but they do have copper and zinc deficiencies....the lack of copper can make them anemic. Additionally, it can be realated to poor coat condition.

    If you add oils or other sources of fat to make him shine, it will not be simply "shinning him because of the oils", it will make him shine because he needed the oils in his skin.

    How often do you bath him? Over-bathing can strip oils from the coat making it appear dry.

    How much linseed do you give him? Generally this should make him shine.

    Thyroid disfuntion is another thing that contributes to a dull coat.

    Other tests that you might have done is a CBC to check for infections and other markers in the blood. Also, if the hair analysis suggested liver issues, then I sould have that checked by blood to confirm. If he has something wrong with his liver, you don't want to give him a lot of oil.

  5. #5
    Full Member joan's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    that's a lot of deworming...I give some BOSS and whole flax seed and my horses sheen.

  6. #6
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    SE Wisconsin, USA
    joan, you prefer the whole flax seed to the ground?

  7. #7
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    ejforrest's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    U.P. Michigan
    Other reasons the horse would have a dull coat:
    Vitamin A deficiency: depressed appetite, weight loss, dull haircoat, night blindness.
    Riboflavin deficiency: Scally skin, dull haircoat, decreased feed intake, inflammation of the lips and tongue, colon ulcers, diarrhea, anestrus and rear end muscular weakness.
    If all blood work came back showing no deficiency's with the horses nutrition, add corn, soy, or veg oils to the feed. This often helps to put a shine to dull coats. Just add 1/8 to 1/4 a cup a day.

    "A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence".

  8. #8
    Cavalier's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone.

    He is on 1/2 cup boiled linseed...the only feed I haven't weighed *kicking myself*!! Sue B, at what weight would you suggest the linseed to be fed??

    I think I will get my vet out to take some blood and test for whatever she feels is necessary. He is on a vit/min supplement, but i'll get her to test for everything anyway.

    Hmmmm, maybe it is just the winter??

    He hasn't lost any weight, he's not depressed, his manure is healthy etc.

    Sue - in winter he is only bathed the day before comps, which is usually once a month, sometimes once a fortnight. When he sweats heavily he is sponged down with warm water. In summer he usually sweats pretty heavily and is hosed after every work out, and bathed (shampoos etc) about every 3 weeks.

  9. #9
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    kvmt10's Avatar
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    I'm hoping its just the winter woolies that is making his coat a little dull. Much easier to fix!
    Viktor gets the same way in winter. Dull and fluffy, yet come spring he is shiny as anything again.
    From what I can tell you are doing everything right. Get him tested, but I'm fairly sure it could be just his winter coat.
    Life is divine chaos. Embrace it.

  10. #10
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    wyldterv's Avatar
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    Something Sue B said that rang a bell with something you stated Cav... Dull coats can sometimes be attributed to thryoid issues... (Sue B) and he had a total mental breakdown about 6 wks ago (Cavalier)... Thyroid can ALSO tie into abrupt personality/temperament changes, so you might want to have a full thyroid panel done just to be on the safe side! Since there are two POTENTAIL symptons of hypothyroidism.

    Another thing I'll point out is that the coat will shine from feeding balanced Omega 3 AND 6 oils because it DOES balance from the INSIDE to the OUTSIDE I like Flax oil or meal (same as lindseed which you're feeding) as a great source of Omega 3 and I also really REALLY like rice bran for the Omega 6. I personally feed both to my horses and that combined with daily brushing keeps their coats shiny. Even my 3 ms old filly who is going through that awkward coat changing stage has a shiny 'fuzzy' coat and the 'new' coat underneath that is coming through just glistens. That helps me know she's getting the nutrition she needs.

    Generally winter coats are not as shiney looking as spring/summer coats but they should not look dull and dead either. GOOD LUCK!
    WyldTerv "I've been love ♥ struck!"
    Horsin Around and Doggin it 24/7, Life is GRAND!
    Mustang Poncho,Dancer,Emmerson and Ms.Elle'
    BlackFyre Farms-Bellingham, WA USA,

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