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Rain Scald In Horses

What is Rain Scald?
Rain scald is one of the most common skin conditions that horses suffer from when the weather pattern becomes extremely wet for long durations of time such as during the winter months. The skin condition is caused by a bacterium which is also responsible for mud fever. The bacteria is known as Dermatophilus Congolensis. The skin areas that are affected with have scabs, produce a sticky substance and the hair will be matt. When the skin has been completely destroyed it is very easy for it to become infested by other types of bacteria like staphylococci. On the exterior the skin of the horse will appear like it has been scalded using droplets of water. On the saddling regions and the loins dermatitis might occur. The sticky secretion is what results in the hair matting and the scabs forming. When the scabs are lifted the area underneath will be pink, moist and very sore to even the slightest touch.

The rain scald condition is very easy to spot and identify but in case you are not sure about the skin condition on your horse you should consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis and comprehensive examination. During the initial stages the rain scald appears similar to ringworms or seborrhoea condition. The veterinary doctor can collect a few skin samples and examine them in the laboratory under a microscope to determine the bacteria present on the skin of your horse. Treatment for rain scalds involves the washing of areas that have been affected using a scrub that is antiseptic then applying a solution containing 1% potash alum for mild conditions. For extreme cases the horse will need to be given penicillin or antibiotics in addition to the scrub and application.

Alternative treatments might be the use of therapies that are conservative in combination with homoeopathic and herbal medicine. Another type of treatment can include the purchase of dried herbs then adding them to the animal’s diet. Examples of such herbs that can effectively rectify the condition include:

  • Calendula
  • Cleavers
  • Burdock
  • Nettles.

Burdock is very effective in the healing of almost all skin diseases. Marigold or Calendula is very effective in minimizing inflammation and boosting the healing process. Cleavers is also essential in inflammation reduction as well as boosting the lymphatic system. the nettles will help in the drying up of the sticky substance being produces and eliminating all the toxins from the body.