Dealing with skin issues is a common problem for all equines. Chestnuts and ergots are little, benign growths that tend to scare many people, but they’re a very common dermatological issue. They’re remarkably similar to callus like growths that you get on your feet and other areas of friction.
Dealing with Chestnuts
The chestnut is often called the “night eyes” as they’re round and have a similar eye-like shape. However, they’re believed to be an extra toe that the equine lost through the evolution process. They’re often found on the front part of the horse’s leg and typically grow above the knee.
However, you can also find them on the back of the legs, commonly behind the hock. Chestnuts come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be small and hardly noticeable or exceedingly large. If found early, they’re typically the size of your thumbnail, but they can get up to a couple of inches in length.
Therefore, it’s essential to brush and groom your horses often, so you can catch any of these growths and trim them appropriately. Though they’re not dangerous, they do cause an unsightly spot on an otherwise beautiful coat. Another interesting characteristic is these chestnuts have unique patterns, and you won’t see two that look the same.
They can be rough or smooth in texture, but the good news is that they can be trimmed down so that you can minimize their unattractive appearance. It’s best to allow the groomer or vet to trim these as you don’t want to go below the skin’s surface. If you cut too deep, you run the risk of causing bleeding and infection.
Chestnuts come off so quickly that you can remove them layer by layer using your fingernails. There’s no reason to use a sharp tool. Groomers deal with these corn-like growths daily, and it’s something they groom right along with their hair.
If it’s not causing the horse any discomfort, such as being in the fold of their leg, then there’s no need to panic.
Dealing with Ergots
Many people confuse chestnuts and ergots, but they’re not the same. Ergots grow on the back or the front of the horse’s leg, but they have hair covering them. They’re hard to see unless you are moving and separating the locks.
Since chestnuts don’t have any hair, it’s easy to distinguish between the two. The friction and repetitive pressure on the skin cause these callus-like growths to appear. Some describe these growths as having an eraser-type feeling.
They’re kind of like the pink eraser that sits on top of a pencil. You can get rid of these growths by giving them a pinch between your fingernails. It would help if you didn’t twist to get them off, as it can cause the horse some discomfort.
The real issue with twisting and causing the horse pain is that they can react. First, you don’t want to hurt a beloved animal, and second, this may trigger them to kick or stomp you. Many groomers choose hoof nippers to clip these growths, which tends to work quickly and efficiently.
Can You Prevent Ergots and Chestnuts?
There’s really no way to prevent these skin growths as they happen naturally on all equines. They’re more of a cosmetic concern than anything, but they can be taken care of quickly.
Don’t fret if you see these growths on your horse; just know that you can take care of them yourself without issue. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with removing anything, then ask your horse groomer or vet to help.
Your Horse’s Skin Care Is Important to Us
At Oak Haven Acres, our goal is to make your horse look and feel as good as possible. We take care of your equines, from little things like trimming off skin growths to ensuring their shoes are replaced regularly. As your horse ages and develops a greater need for medical and grooming care, we make it a top priority.
If you need help with your aging equine for ergots and chestnuts and all the other things that go into caring for these animals, then give us a call. We have room for your beloved animal.