Reasons Why A Horse Is Losing Hair

Last Updated on February 7, 2021

When it comes to hair loss in horses, it can be the result of something simple, such as temperature. However, it can be something more serious such as ringworm. It is completely normal for horses to shed their winter coat when spring rolls around. In fact, it is a sign they are healthy when they shed their winter hair for a smooth, fine coat. However, a horse losing hair outside of shedding can be a serious problem.

Reasons For Hair Loss In Horses And How To Help

Before you treat hair loss in horses, it is important to understand the reason why it is happening. Some causes can be treated with at-home treatments and only require simple remedies. In some cases though, you will need a veterinarian to access the problem and prescribe treatment. 


One of the most common causes of hair loss in horses is from biting bugs. Biting ticks, gnats, and horn flies are some of the most irritating insects to horses. 

These bites can cause irritation and even allergic reactions which can create extreme itchiness. Horses may bite or rub itchy bites which can cause hair to fall out. Horses will often have patches of missing hair that may have tiny scabs or red skin as a result.

Fly sheets and fly spray can help prevent these nasty bugs from bothering your horse. If your horse does get nasty bites, topical ointments that provide anti-itch and soothing powers can be used (such as Equiderma Skin Lotion, also their Shampoo and Conditioner help to soothe irritated skin)

hair loss in horses


Ringworm is a fungal infection that occurs in the skin of horses and is oval or round in appearance. It is most common in fall and winter months, with the long hair of a horse’s winter coat helping to maintain it. Ringworm is highly contagious and can be spread by shared tack and blankets.

The infected areas are often scaly and crusty in appearance, as well as being accompanied by hair loss. Once ringworm has been diagnosed in a horse, remove the hair from the infected area, daily baths should be administered for the first week with a special shampoo, then apply Equiderma Skin Lotion and maintain the infected area clean. Weekly baths should then be given until the infection has cleared up and topical ointments may be given as well with a veterinarian’s recommendation.


Scald is commonly a result of poor hygiene and leads to crusty scabs and hair loss. Skin scald is often by manure and urine, occurring most commonly on the legs. 

Rain scald, or rain rot, is caused by an organism called Dermatophilus Congolensis. It can develop in horses exposed to excess rain or those with softened, sensitive skin. 

To prevent scald, stalls should be regularly cleaned, horses regularly groomed and direct exposure to wet and rainy environments should be limited. Infected areas should be cleaned daily. Antibiotics can be given if deemed necessary by a veterinarian.

balding horse

Other Causes Why Your Horse Is Losing Hair

Horses may experience hair loss for other reasons as well. Sometimes sweat from hot days builds up with dirt and may cause hair to fall out or dandruff. Allergic reactions to bites and medications may be another reason.

Seasonal alopecia can occur where horses shed their winter coat in patches before their new hair has grown in.  Even stress can cause horses to lose hair, however, calming pastes can be used for easing nerves and toning down energy levels.

To treat dandruff and hair loss, we recommend washing the affected area with shampoo, then apply a conditioner that helps to hydrate the skin and to relieve itchiness. After the skin is dry, apply a skin lotion and leave it on.

Maintaining A Healthy Coat And Prevent Hair Loss In Horses

There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent hair loss in horses. Regular grooming, proper hygiene, clean stalls, and fly spray can help keep a horse’s coat shiny and healthy. Though some hair loss can be treated by simple remedies, veterinarian treatment may be needed.