Rain Rot in Horses, Dogs and Cats
About Rain Rot
Rain Rot (also known as Rain Scald, dew poisoning, dermatophilosis or Mud Fever) is a common and highly contagious skin infection that occurs in dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep and a wide variety of wild animals. It is caused by dermatophilus congolensis, a facultative anaerobic bacterium. This means the bacterium can use oxygen when it is available or switch to anaerobic metabolism (fermentation) when it is not.
D. Congolesis generally affects the epidermis. The bacterium causes the skin to scab over as well as hair loss. While it can occur all times of the year, generally proliferates in high heat and humidity. Dense winter coats can also provide ideal conditions for dew poisoning. I have also found that waterproof bug spray locks moisture to the skin. This also can exacerbate rain rot infections.
Just like with other bacterial infections (like pink eye), the horse can reinfect himself from other areas of the skin.
Effective Medicated Shampoos
The single best way I have found to treat rain rot is to use a shampoo in the following way:
Rinse your animal thoroughly. With a gloved hand, and medicated soap, feel for and remove all scabs. Generally you will find pink, inflamed skin behind those scabs. Scab removal has been shown to decrease healing times. Be careful to look behind legs, around ankles and on the insides of legs. Remove and throw away gloves. Rinse. Wash your animal a second time. Again, feel for scabs (if you did a good job, you shouldn’t find any). Again rinse and be sure all shampoo is removed. Allow your animal to dry and apply medication to the affected areas. Most of the products for treating rain rot recommend the double wash. I have done single washes before, and found that the double wash makes the problem go away much quicker.
The following products have been shown to dramatically improve healing time:
- Cowboy Magic Shampoo
- Cowboy Magic Krud Buster (spray on after bathing)
- Vetracyn (apply after bathing)
- Iodine-based shampoos
- Colloidal Silver Spray (apply after bathing-works great as a “liquid bandage)
Check your animal daily for reocurance and repeat as described above. Depending on the severity, it may take a few weeks to heal, but it always goes away.
Product to apply after washing and scab removal
To detect a rain rot in its early stages, it is best to check your animals daily. I run my hands along each leg, paying particular attention to the ankles, joints and under arms. If your animal has a tail that lays against the skin, be sure to check there as well. Be sure to check the face, neck and under the chin. Floppy ears on dogs can also be a common location.
When you find rain rot, it will feel like a scab. This scab should be removed because that scab is unrelated to healing. The bacteria are anarobic (they do not like oxygen) and form the scab for protection.
It is very hard to prevent the spread of rain rot, unless it was caught very early. If your animal has this condition, or has had it in the recent past, do not share items that come in contact with the skin.
For horses, this means brushes, leg wraps, saddle pads, girths, breast collars or anything else that comes in contact with the skin with other horses. Wash all fabric items with hot water. Neoprene can be cleaned with a dilute solution of chlorine. As a general rule, each of my horses has their own set of brushes, their own saddle pads, girths and breast collars. This helps prevent the spread of disease.
For dogs, this means collars, bedding, kennels etc.
In addition, good nutrition helps support a healthy immune system. Consult a nutritionist or veterinarian to ensure your animal is getting what he needs.
Finally, it is possible to transfer rain rot to your own skin or other pets that may never come in contact with the affected animal. Be careful and wash your hands thoroughly after treatment.
- Trail Hooligan
Author's brand new website on trail sites, adventures and cool gear.
- Official Horse Sense
Author's site on horse travel, care, health and more.
- Common Cat Skin Problems - Signs and Treatment
Cats are natural groomers, so they are typically pretty clean and have clean fur and skin, but sometimes they need a little help in keeping their skin and coat healthy because they are susceptible to skin...
- External Parasites: Bugs are Bugging My Horse
Warm weather is here, and so are the bugs! External parasites are those that live on, or get its food from a host, which in our case is the horse. Our horses are primarily affected by these parasites in...
- Horses. Dermatitis in Horses. How to Cure Dermatitis...
Dermatophilosis dermatitis is a skin inflammation caused by horse Dermatophilus congolensis infection. Behind this strange name hides a microorganism that grows only when environmental conditions are...
- Common causes of your dog's itching and scratching
Your dog started scratching recently. You think it may be flea season again so you have her scheduled to see the vet to put her back on a monthly topical flea treatment. Don't be surprised though if itching...
- Acute Moist Dermatitis: Hot Spots in Dogs
Your dog was doing well and was acting playful one second, and the next thing you know, he starts scratching at an area and within seconds, chunks of hair start flying everywhere. Alarmed, you look at the area...
- Advices And Precautions For Hot Spots On Dogs And Ra...
Faithful and loving pets are liked by many people. Dogs are the first name that comes to mind when talking about pets. But many people keep horses as well as pets and use them for riding purpose. Dogs are associated with safety purpose, whereas...