Horse Mom’s homemade anti-fungal recipe

Every once in awhile — particularly in “mud season” in the spring, we have some outbreaks of fungal skin conditions such as scratches, rain rot, or just random crusty or itchy spots.  I’ve always been leery of using harsh chemicals, some of which interact dangerously with each other.  So, I was looking for something natural and less expensive than some of the preparations in the tack store.  For the past several months I’ve been using a simple lotion made with two ingredients, and having success with it.  I have a white dog who suffers terribly from allergies.  He often licks and scratches until he gives himself a staph infection.  I tried a bunch of products that promised to control the problem, but had no success.  Desperate, one day I tried adding a little bit of tea tree oil to aloe gel, and spread it on the dog’s irritated and discolored belly skin.  It did not seem to hurt him, and by the next day his skin was a normal pink and healthy-looking.  Needless to say, I keep up that treatment anytime he starts to act uncomfortable.  I no longer need to use it every day — we’re down to about once every ten days to two weeks.  What does this have to do with horses, you ask?  Read on…

One day, my daughter complained of a particularly persistent and painful fungal infection that was plaguing one of the horses that recently came to us as a boarder.  She had been scrubbing his “scratches” and felt bad that she was hurting him when scrubbing and picking off huge chunks of scurfy mess.  I suggested that she try some of my mixture of aloe and tea tree oil, to see if it would help him.  She started applying the mixture every morning and evening.  The horse didn’t object to it, and within two days she reported a noticeable improvement.  She kept it up for five or six days, and the problem cleared up.  Now I keep a pump bottle of the mixture around the barn, to use on itchy spots and fungal problems.  The tea tree oil seems to kill the bad stuff, and the aloe promotes quick healing, healthy skin and hair re-growth. 

Disclaimer and cautionary note:  the above should in no way be construed to be veterinary advice.  If you decide to try this yourself, do so at your own risk, and be sure to read the cautions on the aloe and tea tree oil bottles.  Pure tea tree oil is very strong and can burn or irritate the skin if not properly diluted.  I use about 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil to 5 or 6 ounces of aloe vera gel, and shake *well* to mix it up.  The result is a cloudy, slightly watery gel with a strong smell somewhere between eucalyptus and pine turpentine.  Tea tree oil and the anti-fungal gel from this recipe should NOT be taken internally, and should not be used in or around the eyes.

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