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Rain Rot

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  • Rain Rot

    I think I'm dealing with a little bit of rain rot on my horse.

    The day before yesterday, he had a small area on his hip which appeared to have "hives", like some smallish swollen bumps of different sizes. It was a small area as in I could probably cover the whole thing with one hand.

    I thought maybe he had been stung by something, or was lying on something that gave him a reaction. I put a little bit of tea tree oil on the bumps that night.

    Yesterday, the swelling seems to be mostly gone but the area is a little bit crusty with some of the hair coming off. One little area seemed kind of oozy/weepy. I curried the area with a rubber curry and loosened all the hair that was coming off easily, then I scrubbed (with a sponge) betadine onto the area, let it sit for a few minutes, and then I washed it off.

    It has been raining here for about six weeks straight (or very humid when it stops raining), and on the days it's not raining, I usually ride and then hose him off! He's stalled daily for about 10 hours (overnight).

    I'm pretty sure it's rainrot, not ringworm.

    Any tips for dealing with this? It was sunny and warm (although a little humid) yesterday, and today is supposed to be sunny and hot, as are the next few days. I'm hoping the weather will help.

    I'm planning on washing with betadine again tonight if it looks the same as yesterday.

  • #2
    The worst part about rain rot is that once it starts it's really hard to get rid of. Bathing in Batadine is a good idea. Another suggestion is to buy diaper cream (Desitin works really well) and apply it to the area that has the spots. Make sure you rub it in really well so that it gets into the skin.
    Visit my farm at www.hiddenrockfarm.com

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    • #3
      A betadine bath is your best bet, especially if you caught the irritation early. Your veterinarian can probably supply you with a antibacterial shampoo if you wish.

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      • #4
        I put this on every post about rain rot, so I will say it once again.

        The best product I have used for rainrot is Equiderma. It will clear it up in 1-2 applications and you only apply it every other day.

        Really. It works. I have used all the other products that took at least a week (usually longer) to clear it up. And a few of them actually made my horses break out in hives.

        I know the price looks high, but let me tell you, one bottle will go a long, long way because it works fast, so you use less.

        And they do have a money back guarantee, so if you don't like it, or it doesn't work, send it back.
        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the replies. Should I be separating him from the other horses?

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          • #6
            From the Equiderma website on segregation/spread:

            "Dermatophilus congolensis can spread by simple contact with anything contaminated by an infected horse. The good news is, just because one horse gets rain rot, another horse may not. However, prevention is a must. After each use, disinfect any equipment shared between horses. The same applies to any surfaces the horses may rub against."
            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              So, is he contagious forever or just until it's healed??

              Would you separate your horse for turnout?

              Would you want a fellow boarder's horse separated from yours if the other had rainrot and yours didn't? What's the etiquette in this type of scenario??

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PlanB View Post
                So, is he contagious forever or just until it's healed??

                Would you separate your horse for turnout?

                Would you want a fellow boarder's horse separated from yours if the other had rainrot and yours didn't? What's the etiquette in this type of scenario??
                Well, not sure if there is any rule of thumb. When I was battleing it in the past, my horses were boarded at a large farm, 60 acres of turnout with about 45 horses total. Both my horses had it, one was on pasture board, one was a show horse in individual turnout.

                Not every horse at the farm got it that year, some did, some didn't. There is a theory that some horses are "immune" or build up an immunity to it, I don't honestly know. Another theory is that some horses are more susceptible to it, depending on how well they are doing nutritionally and/or general healthwise. In other words, you do typically see worse cases in horses that are neglected (ask any horse rescue person), but I am not saying that is a root cause, just horses with lower defenses get worse cases of it.

                Do any other horses in your barn have it now also? How much contact with other horses does your horse have during turnout?

                A bit more information on rain rot from the Equiderma site:

                "What causes rain rot?
                The organism dermatophilus congolensis causes rain rot. Dermatophilus congolensis is not a fungus. It is an actinomycetes, which behaves like both bacteria and fungi. The organism is carried on the horse’s skin. Generally rain rot crops up during the spring. The horse has a dirty coat with all sorts of organisms including dermatophiles. Spring rains water the area and the hot sun allows them to flourish, just like growing your spring garden --
                in this case, a very nasty harvest "

                So, if all the horses have the potential in their skin, the contact from your horse probably would not cause another horse to "catch" it, I would think (and this is just my opinion, I am not and expert) that each individual horse may break out with it depending on the conditions.

                Personally I would not segregate my horse.
                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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                • #9
                  etiquette - ok to stay together IMO

                  Rain rot does seem to be 'individual' in each horse's vulnerability. In my experience, it has not been a reason to separate horses who normally turn out together.

                  I have seen 1 filly chock full of rainrot and her pasturemates with none, (she got a lot of baths with shampoo after that).

                  Right now it seems that we've had a long period of humid & rainy weather (showers every day including right now) so it is easy for a susceptible horse to get some rain rot. Keep treating it and currying.

                  I would check pasterns and ankles for scratches as well and inspect the legs closely daily as the same factors for rain rot are favorable for scratches. And the grass has been growing so fast with the rain their feet/ankles can be wet easily in turnout.
                  Forward...go forward

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks everyone. Today the hair has fallen off in two small patches, but the whole area looks dry; no swelling, lumps, or oozing. I curried and very little hair came out. I scrubbed the area w/ betadine again, left it for awhile, then rinsed and dried w/ a clean towel.

                    One more question: Should I wash the rest of his body with something medicated as a preventative? I've checked him all over and don't see any other spots.

                    Also wanted to add: I don't know if any of the other horses have it, I don't see them up close very much and they mostly live outside.

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