Veterinary advice should be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.


Horses are susceptible to sunburn during the summer months, particularly horses with lighter colored skin and white haircoat.
The severity of sunburn depends on degree of exposure and the skin sensitivity of the horse. Certain regions of the world have a higher UV index than others, and horses living in these areas that are prone to sunburn, should be protected.

Since sunburns often can appear very similar to photosensitization, it is important to differentiate between the two conditions, as photosensitization is often indicative of liver damage. Sunburned horses usually are only affected on the face (particularly the muzzle) and are usually horses with a pink muzzle. When horses are affected by photosensitization, all white areas of the body will be affected.


Cracking, flaking skin
Blistering, oozing fluid
Skin is hot to touch


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam



Remove the horse from all sources of UV lightProvide UV resistant fly sheet and/or fly mask, etc,
Zinc oxideApply a thick coating of zinc oxide ointment to the affected area
If the sunburn doesn't improve significantly within a few daysCall your veterinarian.


  • Provide shade
  • Stable horses inside during the day
  • Apply suntan location
  • UV resistant fly sheets and/or fly masks

Scientific Research

General Overviews

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  • Muzzle icon

Risk Factors

  • Lighter colored horses, particularly those with pink muzzles.
  • Horses living in hot climates with increased sun exposure