The last time I had a horse with Scratches was somewhere between 2001 and 2002. But the first spring in my new place (June 2012) maybe due to the wet weather and maybe due to something in the soil and most likely due to both happening at once, all 3 horses got Scratches. Horse 1 got them on both of her white pasterns and it looked like this:
Horse 2 got them on his one white pastern and his looked like this:
Horse 3 got them also on one of his white pasterns and it seemed to follow an old scar he had there like this:
Now back in 2001 -ish I washed with betadine daily,treated with zinc ointment, then tried blue coat (gentian violet) and then over the counter anti fungals (althletes foot meds) . The scratches resolved and healed in about 6 weeks.
This time I took a different approach. I did nothing. The weather was improving the ground drying nicely and one of horse 1's pasterns was already turning the corner towards healing when I first noticed it at which time the other 2 had not developed any scabs yet. Turning the corner towards healing looks like this:
OK, well, horse 3 did get a bunch of anti fungal cream because his just looked SO bad. I'll mention here that none of the horses felt any noticable discomfort from their scratches--I assume because it did not get down under the heel where it would contact the ground when they walked. Horse 1 was the first to develope the scratches and the first to heal. but with and without treatment all cases resolved and were completely healed in about 6 weeks.
So, I just did a search on Scratches in horses and every article I read said that scratches MUST be treated. I was saying "you've got to be kidding me!" Then I came across These photos of scratches. I have revised my definition of "SO bad". And now I agree if I ever had anything that looked like THAT I would be treating it. Yikes! I hope the photos I have posted of my cases of scratches and those in the link will help you know when you have a condition that MUST be treated or one you can leave to resolve on it's own. I will reiterate a bit for clarity: my horses are pastured not stalled. It was a very raining month with lots of mud and little to no time for drying between rains when the scratches developed. When my photos were taken the rainy season had ended mostly and the days were sunny and dry for long stretches so that even when we did have a rain the horses could stay out of the wet. AND: At no time did my horses resemble the linked to photos.