Rain scald - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Rain scald

Here's one that I haven't had the 'pleasure' of dealing with before...

We're coming into summer here in Australia, and as a result, we're getting some tropical weather coming through. Last week we had a day of torrential rain, but it stayed at around 30*C and has now just gotten warmer. I left my thoroughbred naked for this time, as he gets very hot if I put a waterproof on him, even if it is raining, in this heat.

Literally overnight, he has developed rain scald/rot. I fed him that night, ran my hand over his back and found him covered in scabs.


This isn't something I've had to deal with before, so I'm not 100% confident in dealing with it.
I have been told to pick all of the scabs off him to expose the bacteria to the air, and treat him with medicated shampoo.
I haven't been terribly successful at getting the scabs off, as he is a sensitive horse at the best of times and gets very agitated about the process. I have been dousing him in tea tree oil shampoo and concentrate, but it doesn't seem to be doing much for him.
Currently my once beautiful, sleek grey thoroughbred looks like a mangey mongrel

Any suggestions on how to treat this, and how to help the hair grow back? Summer has just started so his coat won't be shifting for another few months now!

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post #2 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 04:37 AM
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 04:59 AM
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Pop to the chemist and buy a bottle of Nizoral shampoo - it is brillient for getting rid of rain scald/mudfever and greasy heel.

Dilute in hand hot water, lather up and work well into the skin. Leave for 10 mins and scrape off excess. No need to rinse.
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post #4 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips :)

Another thing is rugging - he has some pink skin over his hind quarters, and the weather is really hotting up now, it's going to be sunny and 35*c + tomorrow and through to next week. So now I'm debating whether or not to rug him, I've heard the bacteria that causes rain scald is anaerobic, so putting a rug on will be favourable to the bacteria, but if I don't rug him, he'll burn.

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post #5 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 01:22 PM
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The rainscald is caused by a fungus initially, loves wet/damp warm areas - that's why it is important to wash with the Nizoral ASAP. If the skin breaks down because the scabs have been pulled/picked off then there is a risk of picking up a bacterial infection.

In winter when I've had horses arrive with rain scald - i've washed with the Nizoral and then covered as you need to protect the skin. With the pink skin on her rump I'd be puttig on a light sheet that will protect her from the sun.
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tnavas, I've put a light flag sheet over him today, and have been scrubbing the infected areas thoroughly twice daily to keep everything clean, plus disinfecting everything that comes into contact with the area.

This horse has given me no end of issues, hock problems have had him out for 18 months, bouts of colic, join infection and cellulitis, muscle spasms caused by a pinched nerve, now rain scald and this morning he's come up with another bout of swelling in a hind leg. *sigh* Through all the horses I've had, I have never had one so prone to illness and injury.

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post #7 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 07:07 PM
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your horse is vitamin A deficient. Yes rain rot is a fungus, but with enough vitamin A the horses own immune system will kill it.
BTW the fungus is contagios and can pass to other horses with blankets or grooming tools.
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post #8 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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So every horse that gets rain rot is Vit A deficient? :/ Don't know if I buy that sorry, this horse is the most carefully looked after horse, I have him blood tested every 6 months as well as having him worm counted etc. And have never had anything come back as Vit A deficient. I bumped into my vet this morning on the way to work and he said there's a lot of it going around at the moment with the unusual tropical weather we've had in the last couple of weeks. I think there's more to it than Vit A deficiency.

He is separated from the other horses, and as I posted just above, I have been disinfecting everything that comes into contact with him.

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post #9 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I just realised what a snappy response that was. I just got abused for being female by yet another student at work so was feeling a little short.
I really don't feel that it would be because he is lacking in anything, as I said, I am absolutely festidious with keeping the horse sound and healthy because of how many problems I've had with him. I spend nearly 1/3 of my wage each month on keeping just him going, and have always been very careful with his diet, making sure everything is balance, depending on changing seasons etc.

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post #10 of 30 Old 12-22-2011, 07:47 PM
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Google "rain rot and vitamin A". Lots of research. You asked for help. I gave it. Sorry if you don't like the answer. It is a fungus and its always around and needs certain conditions to cause problems. "Lot's of it going around" could be a direct result of most horses in the area eating the same vitamin deficient hay. Or who knows what else. Various shampoos, mouthwash, betadine, lysol, pretty much any strong disinfectant will kill the fungus. But unless you correct the underlying condition that is causing the infection. It will re occur. Like putting her blanket back on. All her tack should be disinfected.
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