Grooming Tips For Horses With Rain Rot

Rain rot, or rain scald, is a bacterial skin infection that thrives in wet and humid conditions. Recognizing its characteristic scabby matted clumps of hair or crusty sores is crucial for early intervention.

Signs and Symptoms:

Rain scald initially appears as scabs along the back and face of the horse. The areas are sensitive to touch and may appear with greasy scabby sores.  The appearance may look the same for some skin allergies or toxins resulting in confusion when diagnosing.  Make sure to consider all factors including nutrition and environment to assist your vet with a proper diagnosis.

The horse may show symptoms of itchy or sore skin, balding patches, scabs on coat, clumps of hair falling out.

Grooming Strategies:

Regular Cleaning: Begin by gently covering the scabs with honey or coconut oil to soften the scabs. This may take a day or two before you can remove the scabs and debris from affected areas without causing discomfort to your horse.

Don’t drop the scabs on the ground as this may cause reinfection, instead put all the scabs into a bag and throw into the rubbish.

Keep repeating the application of honey or coconut oil if new scabs appear. Once the scabs are easy to remove, use an iodine wash to cleanse the affected area using a soft brush or sponge. Be cautious to avoid causing pain or discomfort to your horse.

Anti-Bacterial Shampoos: Continue to keep the affected area clean with the iodine wash or a veterinary-recommended antibacterial or medicated shampoo. Follow the product instructions for the best results.

Drying Techniques: Pat dry the affected area with a clean towel. Ensure the rest of the horses coat is well-groomed. Rugging may cause additional discomfort while the infection is healing. Reduced airflow from a rug may also slow down the healing process.

Preventative Measures: Keep grooming brushes, tools towels and rugs disinfected and clean while treating the horse. Provide shelter during wet weather and use moisture-wicking, breathable rugs.

Nutritional Supplements:  Support your horse’s skin and coat health with a complete and balanced diet including supplements that have essential fatty acids high in Omega 3 and Zinc to promote healthy skin and coat, together with amino acids methionine and cystine to assist with hair regrowth.

Treating a horse with rain rot requires daily care and strict hygiene practices for the horse and handler.  Obviously prevention is better than cure!  Proper nutritional support and a balanced diet will go a long way in avoiding future occurrences.