Rain Rot in Horses Treatment

Rain Rot in HorsesRain rot in horses is a fairly common issue many horse owners face. It is caused by actinomycetes called dermatophilus congolensis, which behaves like a fungus and bacteria. This organism multiplies in environments of high humidity and moisture, causing rain rot (sometimes called rain scald). Rain rot is characterized by large, crust-like scabs or mats, which feel like lumps in your horse’s coat. These leave the skin underneath pink and pussy at first, then gray and dry as the condition progresses. Similar to sweet itch in horses, rain rot spreads by way of infested blankets, leg wraps and brushes but, because the dermatophilus congolensis organism can only infect a horse’s epidermis when there is a wound present, it is possible for a horse to harbor an infestation without actually developing rain rot. Once rain rot in horses is identified, treatment involves depriving the invading organisms from the conditions they thrive in, as follows:

1. Keep the infected horse in a dry place with good ventilation and away from other horses and biting insects.

2. Work a microbial shampoo into a thick lather on the horse’s coat, let it sit for ten minutes, then rinse well. Follow with a conditioner suitable for rain rot in horses. Do this every day for a week.

3. Moisten the horse’s coat to soften the scabs, then remove them very carefully. This can be a painful process for the horse, so handle this step delicately. Dry the horse thoroughly after scab removal.

4. Kill the underlying organism with any of a number of store-bought sprays , lotions, body washes, or gels.

5. Contact an equine veterinary professional for extreme cases. A vet will be able to prescribe antibiotics, if needed, and/or immune-boosting drugs to help your horse fight off the invading organisms.

As you can see, rain rot in horses is fairly easy to detect and, once identified, can usually be treated by you, the horse owner, without the aid of a vet. Of course, if you’d like to avoid rain rot altogether, your best bet is to invest in an early preventative horse worming.