Mallanders and Sallanders in Horses
Mallanders and sallanders in horses are a type of scaly itch, also known as hyperkeratosis: an overproduction of keratin. They appear on the flexures of the knee and hock: mallanders appear on the back of the knee and sallanders on the front of the hock.
When you first notice these, they may seem like scurfy, rough patches only. However, horses find these quite sensitive and irritable. If they are neglected, it can crack, turning into problematic sores that could be at risk of a secondary infection. And since they appear on the front and at the back of the joint, flexing often causes skin to re-open and prevents healing from taking place.
The breeds most regularly affected by this condition, are the draft breeds or breeds with feathering on the legs, e.g. Drum, Friesian, Gypsy, Shire, etc.
Depending on the severity and owner preferences treatment may vary, but it’s likely to be a combination of the following:
Washing the area
The risk of a secondary infection has to be limited at all costs. Washing the area to keep it clean, is key.
Applying a moisturizing ointment to keep the area from drying out and producing more cracks, is recommended.
As tempting as it may be – do not pick at the scabs. Allowing the ointment to soften the scabs and fall off by themselves, is still the safest way to get rid of it.
WHAT ROLE DOES VITAMIN C PLAY?
How often have you been told that a clear and healthy skin is a reflection of what goes into your body? The same applies to horses. Treating skin conditions from the inside, systemically, can go a long way in alleviating your horse’s discomfort and speeding up recovery time.
A vitamin C deficiency slows the rate at which collagen is formed which in turns slows down the rate at which wounds heal. Where there is a severe vitamin C deficiency, old wounds may reopen, thereby increasing the risk of reinfection – crucial in addressing mallanders or sallanders.