ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Horse Disease Focus - Rain Rot

Updated on March 6, 2013

What is rain rot?

Rain rot or rain scald is a common skin disease of horses. It is called 'rain' rot because it most commonly shows up in horses that have been turned out in the rain. (This is part of why people in damp climates have turnout rugs that are basically rain coats for horses).

Rain rot occurs on the horse's back, neck and haunches, and is a bacterial infection of the skin.


Rain rot looks worse than it is. The first symptom is a dulling of the coat, most often on the back, sides or haunches. Occasionally, it affects the legs, where it is sometimes called 'mud fever'.

The dull coat will come out easily if touched and the skin underneath is inflamed and oozing, often forming scabs. If the infection is not treated, the hair will fall out.

Rain rot is the most common equine skin condition there is. However, although it looks horrible, it appears to cause no direct discomfort for the fact, this is a literal case of the cure being worse than the disease.


Treatment starts with bathing the horse using an antimicrobial shampoo. Once the horse is bathed, the scabs should be removed. This process is not very comfortable for the may want to have somebody distract it and if you have a particularly sensitive horse, a mild sedative might be a good idea.

The horse should be bathed every day for about a week. That's usually enough to remove the infection. It also needs to be kept dry - do not turn a horse that already has rain rot out in the rain, or it will only get worse.

Disinfect any tack, rugs or grooming equipment that have been used on the infected horse and sanitize your hands. Rain rot can be transferred from horse to horse, so the infected animal should be quarantined until the infection is cleared up. (Note, however, that almost every horse has the bacteria on them - rain rot only occurs if there is a combination of moisture and broken skin - this is why it's so common).

Resting the horse is only necessary if the infected area would be under the saddle.


Grooming horses regularly is the best prevention for rain rot. Bringing your horse in during a heavy rainfall or using a turnout rug will also help a lot. If your horse does get soaking wet and you're there, dry it off as quickly as you can.

If you don't have an indoor and have to ride in the rain a lot, consider investing in a quarter sheet. This is either secured under the saddle like a saddle blanket, or over the saddle (some variations fasten around your waist). It's basically a slicker for your horse, although note that it can increase overheating - quarter sheets should not be used in warm climates.

Avoid sharing tack and grooming equipment between horses as much as possible.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jenniferrpovey profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Yeah. Mud doesn't do their hooves and feet much good.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      6 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Well, at any rate, it's an interesting read and I did see horses with a lot of foot problems from standing in mud all the time, so regardless, too much rain is not good for horses if they're in it too much.

    • jenniferrpovey profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      I'm going to honestly say that all my research says it's really common, but I spent years working with ponies in the UK, ponies who were out rain and shine, and never saw a case.

      So...there may be more to it than just 'they're out in rain'. Although if you have cracked skin on the heels and legs, that's mud fever, which is the same condition in a different place.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      6 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Jennifer - I've never heard of this. You'd think we'd have more of it, living on the Gulf Coast. What we do have is foot rot because horses that don't have dry ground stand in mud too much. When we had our horses, we always tried to keep them from standing in mud all the time and led them to dry ground. We had one area that we just had to fence off because it was so wet all the time and naturally - that's where they wanted to go!

      Voted up, useful and interesting.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)