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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Collagen Bumps?

 I was listening to a Horse Radio Network show, The Stable Scoop, and one of the hosts mentioned that she needed to use sheepskin only next to her horse's back because of collagen bumps.  Something clicked and I thought "maybe that's what Farley has????"
Starting at Wild West (a late May endurance ride), I noticed little bumps on Farley's back after the ride.  They appeared right after the ride concluded, didn't seem particularly painful, and were gone within a couple of days. 
They reappeared several times over the summer, particularly after long hot rides.  It didn't seem to matter which saddle or saddle pad (fleece or sympanova synthetic) I used. 
I kept an eye on them as they appeared and disappeared, but never progressed to a point where I felt I needed to call the vet, weren't particularly tender etc.
Since the weather cooled off, I haven't seen them,even though we've done several endurance rides with the same saddle/pad combo that I used earlier.
So far my research has been disappointingly spare.  Apparently these bumps are created with a bug bit or debris irritates the horses skin.  The skin reacts by forming a little nodule around the irritant.  For treatment, they can be injected with steroids or surgically removed.
I'm sure there's more to this condition!  Does anyone else have any experience or wisdom to share?  Obviously fly control is important, but what about other factors?  Do dirty saddle pads contribute?  Does sheepskin really help?  Does using a pad that keeps the back cooler help?  Should I be bathing more frequently to keep her cleaner?


  1. Gogo has a collagen bump on her right shoulder. It's been there since before I bought her, never changing. Just a hard, pea-sized lump. She had one that showed up mid-summer last year right below it that dissapeared on its own. She also had two pop up on the other side of her neck after having a small reaction to potentially the latex on the needles I had used to give her her spring shots. Those too went away on their own.

    My boss, however, has a mare that had a fairly BIG one that showed up after someone tried her in a different saddle right under where the panel sits on her right side. Because of its location, she had the vet inject it with steroids. It didn't do a thing. However, the mare seems unbothered by it, and she does use a well-fitting saddle with a Mattes pad... but who knows what would happen with a different saddle. The vet gave her the option of cutting it out surgically but she chose not to because of the training time she'd lose.

    Food for thought. Sometimes they go away on their own, sometimes nothing you do makes them go away!

  2. We had a mare that had bumps show up all over her withers one summer. They were hard, but not painful, and no matter what we did it didn't seem to have any effect. Eventually they went away on their own.

  3. It sounds like a heat rash if it is coming and going like that and usually after hot rides. I've never heard of collagen bumps. Very interesting. Now I have to google image it!

  4. A little information on the topic can be found here:

    The more I read about it though it sounds as if the horses have an auto immune issue going on. The body over reacting to "something".

    Another writer suggested the use of topical steroid creams on insect bites to quickly deal with the inflammation and perhaps to avoid the bump. Sounds like one of those frustrating things.

  5. I know that Karen Chaton has dealt with these type of bumps on Chief. She calls them "heat bumps". She found that NOT pulling the saddle right away, and instead giving the area a chance to slowly cool off before removing the tack seemed to eliminate them. Maybe search her blog for "heat bumps" and see what you can find?

  6. As usual blog readers are awesome! I think they are heat bumps like crysta suggested.

    I must say that of all the different things that can go wrong with a horse, skin conditions may be more frusterating than lameness! I'm lucky so far-a mild case of rain rot and these mystry vps have been the extent ofmy problems.

  7. Yep, sounds like heat bumps. Years ago, our NATRC horses would get scored off if they got them. We'd leave the saddle and pad on, letting the back cool slow. But then they found that it was a case of some horses got them, some didn't, and they were never sore, nor did we ever find them to cause issues. They stopped scoring off for them on NATRC horses unless they are SORE. I'd not worry about them unless they cause more issues.

  8. I'm always late to the party! yes, it sounds to me like heat bumps. The ONLY horse I've ever had get them is Chief.

    It's one reason why I'm not a fan of the 30 minute rule at the finish line. Because most West region rides require tack off then, and I don't always like to *have* to pull tack off of him that fast. The heat bumps have never bothered him. I think I'm bothered more. The thing is that I know I can keep them from occurring by leaving the saddle on and lifting it up periodically to let the back cool slowly.

    I remember when I first discovered Chief's heat bumps the Duck told me that good horsemen let their horses cool out before removing their tack. It's funny how in some regions we are all taught to pull it right away in order to vet. Till I had Chief, I never knew....


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