New study looks at photosensitivity in horses

19 Jul 2019

A new study on photosensitisation in horses is due to be presented to a gathering of Australian equine veterinarians from 21 – 25 July. Professor Stephen White, a renowned veterinary dermatologist from the University of California, will present his findings at the upcoming Bain Fallon Memorial Lecture series, held on the Gold Coast.

Photosensitisation is best defined as an abnormal reaction of the skin when exposed to light. In horses it is usually caused by an agent in or on the skin which absorbs energy from light and transfers it to body cells.

These agents may be drugs, topical medications, foodstuffs or excessive accumulation of metabolites due to liver disease preventing the normal processing of feed.

“Physical examination of affected horses usually reveals lesions limited to the hairless, white or lightly pigmented areas of the skin,” said Professor Stephen White.

“The involved skin is red, swollen and painful, like it has been badly sunburnt. The lesions may progress to exudation, thickening, cracking and, in severe cases skin death similar to a severe burn."

Professor White is Professor and Chief of Service, Dermatology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of California, Davis. He has worked as a veterinary dermatologist for three decades.

Presented by the Equine Veterinarians Australia, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, the annual lecture series offers equine veterinarians from around the country the opportunity to advance their professional development with a series of world-class lectures and practical clinical sessions.

The 41st Bain Fallon Memorial Lectures will be held on the Gold Coast from July 21st to 25th with a focus on eyes, skin and lameness. More information on the history of the event and how to register to attend can be found at

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.