After a very wet winter it won’t be surprising to see a lot of horses affected by Rain Scald.
So, what is rain scald and how can we treat it?
Rain scald or Mycotic Dermatitis is a common skin condition that occurs generally after a lot of wet weather. It is a bacterial skin infection caused by the bacteria Dermaopilis Congolensis, the moisture allows the bacteria to thrive and infect the surface of the skin.
Rain scald normally affects the back and rump where water doesn’t drain away as quickly however it can also affect the lower limbs and neck areas. In mild cases you may only see a few scabs however in more severe cases the hair will appear matted, the skin will be warm to the touch and can be quite painful. It will form small scabs that when removed will leave a moist raw are of skin underneath often filled with puss. In the more severe cases it can leave quite large areas of raw skin.
How do we treat Rain scald?
Firstly, start with gently washing the affected are with a disinfectant shampoo or 10% betadine solution, then completely dry the affected area. Once dry apply an ointment or cream such as Fungazol which is an anti-fungal ointment or White Healer, which will help soothe the skin where any scabs have come away as well as softening any remaining scabs which can be gradually removed over the next few days. Try and keep your horse dry whilst treating to help with healing and not allow anymore moisture on the area.
This bacteria thrives in wet warm conditions where skin stays wet for prolonged periods of time so to help try and prevent Rain scald, after all prevention is better than a cure, if at all possible keep your horse stabled and out of the rain or alternatively a nice weather proof rug may also help.
If you are unsure or your horse does have a severe case remember to seek the advice of your vet, sometimes in those extreme cases antibiotics may be required.
Written by Selena Phillis