rain rot? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-05-2007, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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rain rot?

what is rain rot? how do they get it? what are the consequenses? treat it? prevent it?

what would the world be .. without horses?
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-05-2007, 05:52 AM
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Location: Hatton Vale, QLD, Australia
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are you referring to 'rain scalds'??? if so, keeping them rugged with water proof rugs or keeping them out of the rain is the only way that i know of to prevent it.

there are a few ways i think to treat it that you can make from natural things. there are also products available to help clear it up but keeping it dry is the best way. vitamin e cream helps the hair grow back too :)

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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post #3 of 11 Old 11-05-2007, 06:33 AM
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Rain rot is a bacterial infection, so its a good idea not to share tack between horses. If you have a case try to keep it clean with a medicated (antibacterial) shampoo or salve and dry.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-05-2007, 07:11 AM
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I took care of two horses once COVERED by rainrots (they were neglected by owners). You can easily feel it with your fingers (like pieces of dirt hard to remove). I did remove all of them by hand and wiped cleaned spots with the alcohol right after. Took me 2 days each, but they didn't get any rainrot after that.

As for shelter, I thought so too. However people in my area told me some horses get rainrots no matter what (even with nice shelter etc.) May be their horses are just dumb and stay outside during the rain - who knows... :)
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 01:17 AM
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I recently did a paper on rain scald for 4H so here it goes

Rain scald, rain rot, mud fever... all the same thing and it is the season!

Ok, if you don't know what it is, it's a contageous organism that acts both like a bacteria and fungus infection that grows on the horse. It developes from the horse being wet without completely drying, because the fungus can then survive and grow. On the horse, it turns into scabs and they come off with tuffs of hair. If you find on your horse an area with several to almost covered in scabs, chances are he has rain scald.

A common misconception about rainscald is that it comes from the rain. It doesn't. I've seen horses that were stalled 24/7 get rain scaled. It's just not as common. This is because the horse isn't getting wet from being outside, and stalled horses are generally groomed more often than paddock kept horses. The organism grows better withOUT the pressence of oxygen, so grooming is very important for treating and perventing rain scald.


Now that you know about rain scald it can be treated.
-Try to keep the horse dry and clean.
-If your horse is sensitive you may want help with this becuae he might not like it! You have to remove the scabs from the horse. You can do this by picking, or if they've reached a later stage, they can be brushed off with a hard curry comb. If they are hard, you can get the areas wet to soften it
-Once the scabs are removed, wash the area with gental anti-fugal and bacterial soap. I've heard of people using gental dish soap or blech, very diluted in warm water. Make sure the horse is dried well after this.

Don't be afraid, rain rot isn't a serious thing in a healthy horse. Some horses that are really healthy can even fight it off before it deveoped into scabs. In older, young, or unhealthy horses though, it can be hard on them and over work their immune system making them more susceptible to other illnesses. It's best to take care of it as soon as it appears, and follow these symple steps to avoid getting it (especially for outside horses):


-Make sure the horse gets completely dried for at least an hour every day
-Don't share saddle pads, blankets, wraps, etc. with other horses (it can be transfer that way)
-Seperate horses if one gets it to prevent the others gettign it
-Keep paddocks well drained and stalls clean
-Make sure horses have a dry place to stand and sleep if theyre kept outside
-Treat cuts with anti-bacterial soap/wash (ie betadine)
-Groom regularly, possibly clip or blanket (rain sheet) a horse if they have a very thick coat and live in a wet environment
-Change blankets regularly, and wash blankets and pads often

I like in Northern BC, where it's ALWAYS wet, and it's common for even the healthiest, dryest, most groomed horse to get even a couple scabs. But you don't have to let it get out of control. I saw a 3 year old once that was completely covered (litterally from ear to tail) in rain scald. The horse had to be clipped, then groomed 2 or 3 times a day and was blanketed for the rest of the winter and stalled at night. She lost a lot of weight because her owners simply didn't look after it when it started. My mare was one of the ones who would get a couple scabs on her neck under her mane, but I would groom her often, and bring her into the barn to dry every day.

It was my job at the farm to take care of the younger horses (yearlings/2 year olds) if they got it because they were more prown to getting it. I would bring them in a stall and give them some low protein complete feed and hay pellets to keep them busy while i got rid of the scabs (i found most horses will stand if you feed them something). I would wash them with warm water with whatever soap I decided to use, and put a cooler on them and give them some hay and let them dry for an hour in a stall before putting them back out. If I can do that with 5 young horses a day between chores, you can do it with your horses too.
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 01:32 AM
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even if a horse was kept stalled and out of the rain, the humidity in the air from the rain is enough to encourage the growth of the organisms if the horse is so inclined. i had this with a tb years ago and couldnt figure out why until the vet explained it to me :)

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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post #7 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 08:17 AM
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My DIL's mare gets it off and on. I treat with Desitin(baby butt ointment) thickly, pick what comes off easily, let it soak well for a day and keep treating and working the scabs until they are gone.. None of my other horses get it and they are all together and often I use the same brushes on all. I think some are more susceptible than others due to other metabolic conditions. She is a very easy keeper prone to hoggerfat so I assume she's IR and manage her accordingly. My appy is blind, old and has a thick longish wintercoat he doesn't get it.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-27-2007, 01:30 AM
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My horses occasionally get tiny patches of it, but they've never had anything too extreme. Well, at least for the small patches my horses get, that MTG really helps. Really, I think it might be magic.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-27-2007, 11:55 AM
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Get some MTG, and rub it into the spots at least once a day. If its really serious, keep them blanketed when its rainy out, but if its nice, you can let it breathe a bit. Brush them out (before you put the MTG on) really well, to get all the dirt out.
To prevent it, just keep them well groomed so the dirt doesnt get it in there and irritate the skin.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-28-2007, 12:10 AM
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Ponypile did a very good job explaining it.

What we usually do (we live in Tx and it is humid so our horses will sometimes get it) We curry it as best we can, then bathe with an antibacterial dish soap and iodine solution. Rinse well. Usually takes only 1 or 2 times to fix it.
TxHorseMom is offline  

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