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Horse Sheath Yeast Infections – (2024) Video Instructions

Horse Sheath Yeast Infections - Video Instructions

Horse Sheath Infection makes the sheaths of a horse are sensitive to the touch and can be hot or painful. They may also have visible pus build-up in some cases, which is more common with older horses as they move around less during winter due to their age (and thus not exercising enough). Geldings often display this sign because they don’t get as warm from exercise compared to mares

Horse Sheath Yeast Infections / How to Clean Horse Sheath Yeast Infection:

Horse sheath yeast infections will be occurred due to the un-hygiene, and uncleanliness conditions. If you own or care for a stallion or gelding, you must become educated about sheath cleaning. You should have your veterinarian or an experienced horse person handle the task. Horse Sheath Yeast Infections

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What is the Normal Condition of the Horses Sheath?

In the relaxed, i.e., non-erect state, the horse’s organ normally remains within its protective sheath where muscles are held in place. When these muscles contract and the organ fills with blood and becomes firm, it becomes exposed. At the tip of the gland (the glans) is the opening of the urethra.

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A deep pocket or fossa surrounds this. Apart from the glans covered by a thin, sensitive membrane, the rest of the organ (shaft) is covered by smooth, supple, well-oiled skin, much of which is normally folded within the prepuce.

Debris from the normal secretions of the skin glands and normally-dying cells from the surface of the skin within the sheath may accumulate in these folds and the urethral fossa and sinus. This accumulation of waxy material.

Tutorial For Cleaning your Horses Sheath

When the Condition Becomes Infected:

The sheath of a male horse needs to be periodically cleaned, but horse owners often neglect this chore. Some are reluctant to deal with it; others might not know how to go about getting it done.

However, as the caretaker and owner of the horse, either you need to become educated about the process, or you should have your veterinarian or an experienced horse person handle the task, so your gelding is healthier and ultimately happier.

The sheath is a double fold of skin that covers the draw-up organ.

A dirty sheath, with a buildup of debris from a mixture of dirt and urine, can lead to infection or urinary problems. Glands in the lining of the sheath, called sebaceous glands, produce a secretion mixed with dirt and sloughing skin cells if form a grey to black material.

Sometimes these secretions build up and accumulate into a soft, wax-like deposit or create dry, hard flakes. 

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Sheath Infection Problems

Most male horses develop buildups of old secretions and dirt, which then irritate the sheath and gland and cause problems. If the sheath lining becomes irritated, soreness and swelling can make it difficult for the gelding to let down his gland to urinate.

Dirt, sweat, and urine salts can be collected near the sheath’s opening, mixing with the waxy material and irritating. A dusty or dirty environment can worsen the problem.

It’s not as problematic for a breeding stallion as for a gelding because the male organ is usually cleaned before breeding or before sperm collection with an artificial orifice. If the stallion is not used for breeding purposes, then the same problem can develop as occurs in the gelding.

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Buildup and Beans:

Besides just the sheath, if the buildup is not periodically washed off, dried waxy material, mixed with dirt, sweat, and fat cells, surrounded by mineral salts from the urine, can form a clay-like ball of debris at the end of the male gland.

It accumulates in the urethral diverticulum, a small pocket near the urethra (the tube that carries the urine from the bladder).

The ball of debris, commonly called a bean, will be lodged in this pocket just inside the opening of the male gland.

A bean could cause infection or interfere with the passage of urine if it is allowed becoming very large. In adult horses, this pocket is shaped like a kidney bean and can be as much as an inch across. You can feel into the diverticulum with the end of your finger to determine if there is a problem.

equine sheath cleaning

Large Bean Problems

If there is a firm mass of accumulated material, it must be removed. If left there, it will only become larger and interfere with urination. A horse with a bean might spray urine in a partially obstructed stream, or just dribble.

Or he might start to urinate, then stop suddenly due to the discomfort caused by the bean. He then might try several times to urinate before he finishes the job. The bean can become as larger as a walnut if neglected.

A small bean can be worked out with your finger, but a large one might be difficult to remove; trying to get it will be painful to the horse, and he will resist. This is when you need to call in your veterinarian.

The horse might have to be tranquilized so he will relax the male gland and let it down. A large bean might have to be crushed into pieces with a finger or blunt instrument for removal, although this is not usually the case. Many horses find this uncomfortable and won’t tolerate your efforts without sedation so that veterinary supervision might be necessary.

Some Horses Develop Beans Regularly

Some horses develop beans regularly. These horses can be helped greatly by scheduled sheath cleaning to prevent the buildup that would otherwise become a bean. Some geldings need cleaning every few weeks; others get by with a thorough cleaning once or twice a year.

Know your horse, and be able to help him if he needs it. Look at your horse’s gland when he lets it down to urinate; if there is a buildup of dried flakes and scaly material all over its surface, he probably needs to be cleaned.

Symptoms Indicating Sheath Needs to be Cleaned

Signs that your horse needs his sheath cleaned include not letting the male organ down to urinate, a swollen sheath, and flakes or deposits of waxy material clinging to the sides of the gland or his hind legs.

Sometimes a painful sheath and organ will cause a horse to exhibit signs of colic or irritation. If raw beans cause constant discomfort, he might be cranky from the pain. Or the pain might make him seem colicky after a ride (because he needs to urinate, but can’t do so comfortably).

If your otherwise friendly, easygoing stallion or gelding becomes grouchy, you need to pay attention. The older the horse, the more likely he has a painful buildup that needs to be washed out.

Any difficulty in urinating should be looked into immediately. Swelling of the sheath can be caused by other problems besides dirt buildup (such as local injury or local eruption of a skin problem), and you need to determine what is causing the problem to treat it correctly. Veterinarian attention is advised in these cases.

Training for the cleaning:

If your stallion or gelding needs periodic cleaning, get him accustomed to having the sheath and gland handled for routine gentle cleaning. Then you can prevent major buildups and remove any beans that start to form before they get so bad that you need a veterinarian.

A horse that has never had his sheath handled might be sensitive and resentful. If you make a habit of firmly rubbing the sheath (and the soft skin between his hind legs) each time you groom him, most will get over being ticklish.

After he no longer resents handling in this area, try cleaning his sheath. The first few times, you might want someone to hold him for you, and stand him against a fence a barn will so he cannot move away. Stand on his left side and face to the rear as you work on his sheath, staying as far forward as you can, so you will be less apt to get kicked.

How to Clean Your Horses Sheath

With your hand lubricated with mineral oil or a soap lather, put your fingertips together and gently enter the sheath with your latex-gloved hand. If the inside surface of the sheath feels dry and hard, with brittle deposits, squirt a little mineral or vegetable oil up into the sheath with a soft-tipped rubber syringe to help soften and loosen the debris.

When done scrubbing, it is very important to rinse the area thoroughly. Make sure there are no traces of soap left in the sheath. Rinsing can be done by flushing with the horse for several minutes.

Hold the sheath closed, let if fill with water, then release it, flushing out the soap. Any soap left inside will irritate. This is why only very mild soap should be used. 

If your horse is not accustomed to water from a hose, use a large syringe without a needle to gently squirt water into the sheath. Prepare warm water with a little mild, non-detergent soap in it, and squirt that first (putting petroleum jelly on the end of the syringe so it can be gently inserted without discomfort).

Have a bucket of clean, warm water for rinsing, squirting clean water several times to wash all loose material out of the sheath, and making sure there is no soap residue left.

You can check for beans while cleaning the sheath. When the male organ is drawn up into the sheath, its tip will be at the very back of the sheath pouch. Stick your finger into the opening at the end of the male gland, and you will find a pocket all around the end of the gland; this is where the beans form.

You can gently probe with your fingertip into this pocket, and if you find a small bean, you can scoop it out while it is still soft and small. If the bean is too big to remove with the horse’s cooperation, call a veterinarian. Hurting your horse will make it much harder to clean him in the future.

Cleaning Sheath Low-Pressure Warm Hose Water

An easy way to clean the sheath if your horse is used to being hosed with water is to spray it with a garden hose, using very low pressure. If the water isn’t too cold, the horse won’t object to this once he becomes used to it. You might have to start with a slow trickle on his feet and legs on a warm day.

Once he accepts water on his feet, he gradually moves up the legs and eventually directs the water onto his sheath. Simple irrigation with the hose can wash away a lot of debris. For some horses, this might be enough cleaning if done periodically.

If a horse gets very dirty in his sheath, you might need to use soap or a commercial preparation for cleaning sheaths. Irrigate the sheath, holding it closed around the hose so that it will balloon with water. When the water is released, it will flush out dirt.

(Be careful not to overdo the filling!) the inside of the sheath is then wet, and you can take a handful of mild soap and carry it into the sheath for a more thorough scrubbing. Soap lather serves as lubrication and makes it easier to work your hand around inside the sheath. Wash the entire inside area.

Irritation and excessive secretions can be caused by too much scrubbing and too much soap. It’s better to use a few flushings with water (and occasionally check for beans if your horse is prone to them) and less frequent soap washings unless your horse needs them.

Often you can clean the sheath and gland without a fuss, especially if your gelding relaxes and lets it down after a ride or workout. He might leave his gland down long enough to clean it gently and quickly with a soft, wet cloth.

Leave your cleaning equipment (cloth and water, with soap if you need it) at the barn or corral where you unsaddle the horse and groom him, and if he lets down his gland or urinates, take gentle hold of it as he is finishing, and quickly clean it.

A few quick cleaning like this when you groom him after a ride might be enough to prevent any serious buildup. It’s also a good time to check for beans since the end of the gland is visible. A little care in this area now and then on a schedule can prevent major problems later.

Your veterinarian can assist you in your first attempt to clean the sheath and remove beans if you are uncertain of the proper technique.

Horse Sheath Yeast Infections - (2024) Video Instructions 1
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