September 06, 2008 | | Comments 0

Horses and Rain Rot

What it Is Rain Rot? How Does it Affect Horses?

Rain rot is alternatively called rain scald. It is a common form of horse skin disease that may affect the back portion, the front of the cannon bones and the neck area. The condition is commonly observed in horses living in regions that have high rainfall, humidity and warmth. However, horse rain rot is a disease that rarely affects horses in colder regions. Although the condition is almost never lethal, it can spread to other horses.

Cause of Rain Rot in Horses

The condition is caused by dermatophilus congolensis. Like the organism causing horse thrush, this is yet again another organism that is not quite a bacterium but also not quite a fungus. A horse can actually carry the organism on its skin without immediately getting infected. The risk of infection increases if a horse suffers from a skin cut. This could serve as an entrance for the organism. Experts suggest that the risk of rain rot is increased if a horse is poorly groomed and if the surroundings are kept untidy and moist.

Rain rot can spread from one horse to another through skin contact. It is also possible however for the disease to spread through the sharing of equipment such as a harness or saddle. In some cases, horses rubbing against the same spots in a stable as infected horses can result in the spread of rain rot. Those that have the infection should therefore be isolated from other horses.

Symptoms of Rain Rot in Horses

Rain rot is easily recognizable by its appearance. The disease manifests itself as raised skin scabs. Just like fresh human scabs, you may also notice fresh or pinkish horse skin underneath fresh rain rot scabs. The scabs usually do not go over half an inch. Although the scabs may look ugly, they apparently do not cause the horse any pain and does not result in itchiness. This however, is no reason to leave the condition untreated.

Treatment of Rain Rot in Horses

Rain rot is caused by an organism that typically dies through air exposure. The first step to curing rain rot is to scrape of the scabs and expose the skin. This however, can be a bit painful to the horse. A tip to ease this step is to moisten the scabs so they are more easily removed. Make sure that your horse is in a secure enclosure before you attempt to remove the scabs. Be as light handed as you possibly can to reduce pain sensations.

Proper grooming is also necessary for the treatment of rain rot. Part of the regular grooming procedure should involve bathing with antibacterial solutions. Make sure too that you keep your horse’s stable and surroundings clean and dry.

If you are a true horse lover, you will most likely love your horse regardless of how they look. If however you are a true horseman you will try to prevent rain rot from affecting your horses.

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