Rain Rot is one of the most common skin infections seen in horses. It is also called "rain scald" or "streptothricosis". Rain Rot is an anaerobic infection that requires the absence of oxygen to live and spread. Rain Rot first appears in crusty patches on the horses back, shoulders, and hip area. The hair grows through these patches and most of the time you will not even notice them until you feel the rise on the skin. Thicker coats on horses allow the organism to multiply due to the warm retention of moisture and lack of oxygen located between the hair and skin. Rain Rot is contagious and generally transmitted through shared horse tack and blankets. The Rain Rot organism is able to penetrate the epidermis of the horse's skin through cuts, abrasions, and insect bites.
Rain Rot is not serious in itself but it can lead to more serious problems like Strep and Staph. Since it is not likely to clear up on its own, it is important to treat it quickly . Since Rain Rot thrives in an atmosphere that is void of oxygen; you need to start by flooding the site with oxygen. Here are some tips to help prevent, treat and control the spreading of rain rot.
Prevention: Grooming tools can be an easy way to spread Rain Rot. Make sure that you do not use the same tools from the contaminated horse on other horses. Another way that Rain Rot can spread is through shared saddle blankets or pads, bridles, leg wraps and halters. Anything that touches a horse's skin and is shared between horses can cause these bacteria to spread. Make sure that you disinfect shared equipment. It is important to look at other sources where horses might like to scratch, such as fences and areas in stalls. If your horse stays damp and dirty for long periods of time, it may become infected by bacterium. Keeping your horse clean, dry and groomed can help prevent rain rot. During rainy weather, make sure your horse has a shelter.
Treatment: Giving the horse a bath with medicated soap is the best way to try to remove the scabs. Let the soap sit on the horse for a few minutes to loosen the scabs. Gently pull the hair away and the crusty patches will lift. The skin beneath will appear raw and oozing. By removing the scabs you are exposing the skin to air which will cause the infection to dry up and heal. After the scabs are removed, the area will need to be treated with something to get rid of the organism. Do not use ointments, as they will hold moisture to the skin. Use anti-microbal shampoos and rinses. If you use Betadine, Phenol, Chlorhaxadine or Nolvasan, you need only use it once a day for a week, unless your veterinarian advises differently. Consult your veterinarian regarding further information on diagnosis, treatment options, and preventive measures against Rain Rot.
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The C. Jarvis Insurance Agency Newsletter is written by Margie Turner. The C. Jarvis Insurance Newsletter is for informational use only and does not express the views or opinions of C. Jarvis Insurance Agency, Inc. Information source: www.helium.com, www.horses.about.com, www.frontagefrenzy.com, www.understanding-horse-nutrition.com, www.equusite.com