Call Dr Bielawski 352-812-0042 or email with further questions or if you would like to make an appointment for your horse.


Zephyrhills, FL 33539

(352) 812-0042

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Coronary band summer sore that healed but resulted in permanent scar.

​​​​Nancylee Bielawski, D.V.M. C.V.M.M.P.

Summer Sores (Habronemiasis)

Welcome to Florida, unfortunately summer sores are fairly common in our hot, humid environment. 

There are several causes of summer sores and just to confuse the matter these sores can present similarly to other diseases.


Number one cause:  FLIES, FLIES , FLIES, did I mention FLIES yet? Oh yes, and also, Flies .

House Flies 

Stable Flies 

Flies ingest the habronema larval stage from infected manure.

The adult habronema nematodes are in the stomach of the horse.

Their larvae pass out in the manure and the fly comes

along and eats it. The next step is the fly lands on your

horse, and deposits the larvae in any moist area. Therefore,

the most commonly affected areas are the corner of the

eyes, face, lips, sheath. cornary bands, lower limbs  and wounds.

This is how a seemingly small wound can turn into a

nightmare wound very quickly.

The larvea  stimulate the production of proud flesh (which is an excessive growth of granulation tissue) in response to the dead and dying larvae. This response is often itchy and horses will commonly seem to chew/ itch their wounds. This ends up making the granulation tissue worse thus making the wounds worse.

Granulation tissue itself is a good thing for healing. It is comprised of new blood vessels needed for tissue healing, yet without real nerve supply. This is why the summer sores bleed so easily, it the breaking of the ends of the new blood vessels . It is a problem only when it becomes excessive. So, that problem is that skin will only grow across a flat-level surface. If you have proud flesh- it becomes taller than the level of the skin edges. The skin won't grow across, the wound stays open , the larva make it itchy , the tissue is aggravated and just continues to get taller- a non- healing cycle develops.

Secondary bacterial infections are also common .


1) Deworm with Ivermectin

2) In some cases, the excess tissue ( and hopefully all the little dead/dying nematodes) will be removed with a blade. If this procedure is performed, a pressure bandage must be kept in place as directed, or the proud flesh will come right back. 

3) Steroids, sometimes topical and sometimes they are injected into the lesion to help reduce the proud flesh.

4) Bandaging and Fly Control as detailed below.

5) Topical Herbal powder is available through Dr Bielawski that is a wonderful agent to reduce the proud flesh and help form a scab.

6) Antibiotics and NSAIDS may be prescribed if there is evidence of a secondary bacterial infection. 


8) Cold Laser Therapy 


This condition can 'appear' to be seasonal since flies are most abundant in the spring and summer. However, if the lesion is not fully healed during the 'quiet' period - winter/fall the the lesions will return with the return of the fly population.

Sometimes the lesions are so chronic ( years) that the skin seems to become thin and lose it's ability to heal normally and no longer a real barrier to flies.  

Also, in my practice, I do see some horses with underlying metabolic concerns such as Cushings Disease that  seem to be more susceptible to summer sores than the other horses living in the same conditions.


#1 Reduce Fly population.  DO NOT FEED YOUR FLIES ! Flies are attracted to fresh manure and damp organic material in which to feed and reproduce. Removal of manure as often as possible and as far away from the barn as possible is ideal. Clean all stalls and paddocks near the barn at least once a day, but twice a day is preferable. Essentially get rid of the manure as fast as it is produced.  It is just as important to clean the pastures near the barn as well. 

Keep barn aisle ways swept and blown clean of all hay/grain/ manure/ moist dirt. 

Rake up all old hay outside or near the barn,

use Fly Control Traps . Tractor Supply carries a variety of products made by StarBar that are Very Effective! 

Star Bar Quick Strike ( good for barn aisle)

Star Bar  Captivator Fly Trap (my clients know I call them Stink Bombs) hang them near moist areas , away from the horses. 

Use Fly Sheets and Fly Masks with ears.

For those horses who remove their flymasks- consider Fly Armour Repellent Browband    easily attaches to halter for turnout/riding and has refills.

Also consider Fly Mesh wraps to cover the lower legs if you are dealing with a summer sore on the lower leg.

Some people have good luck with Fly Predators


Summer sores can look similar to Pythiosis, Proud Flesh (without parasite infection) and Sarcoids.  A thorough exam and history is needed to correctly identify the cause of the lesion. In some cases, a biopsy may be needed for positive identification.