As horse owners ourselves, we believe that our four-legged companions deserve the best care, especially when it comes to supporting and maintaining their skin health.
The temperatures are slowly dropping and one common condition that can affect our horses in the cold and wetter months is rain scald. Let's explore our holistic philosophy and dive into what rain scald is, its causes, prevention, natural treatment options and when it's time to seek veterinary assistance.
What is rain scald?
Understanding the nature of this condition is the first step in effectively preventing and treating it. Rain scald (also known as rain rot or dermatophilosis) is one of the most common skin conditions among horses, caused by an overgrowth of the bacterium ‘Dermatophilus Congolensis.’ This results in scabs forming on the skin, clumping together your horse’s hair. When the scabs come off, the hair will usually come along and the skin underneath may be inflamed and oozing. Rain scald can occur all over the body.
What are the causes?
As mentioned, rain scald is more prevalent during damp and wet weather conditions. It occurs when the bacteria enter the horse's skin through small cuts, scrapes, or weakened areas. As the bacteria thrive in wet conditions, an overgrowth can occur much quicker and your horse could easily get infected. Rain scald can also occur when a horse is over-rugged, increasing sweating whilst trapping the moisture.
How can it be prevented?
Prevention is a key aspect of managing rain scald. Here are some ways to reduce the risk:
- Proper shelter: ensure your horse has access to shelter during rainy weather, minimising prolonged exposure to moisture.
- Regular grooming: regular grooming helps maintain skin health and can prevent the conditions that make horses susceptible to rain scald. Thoroughly dry your horse after riding, exercising or washing – for instance in a solarium.
- Healthy diet: a balanced diet that supports your horse's overall health and immune system can also contribute to skin resilience.
- Avoid over-rugging: make sure your horse gets breaks from its rug by removing it on milder days. Don’t let your horse sit in damp rugs, and air out or wash rugs regularly. Once rain scald occurs, you should bring your horse into a stable and keep it dry – or use a waterproof rug if need be.
What Anicura products can help with rain scald naturally?
If your horse does develop rain scald, let Anicura help! This is how our products can make your pony feel better:
- Horse Gel: our cooling Gels are so gentle they can be used on broken skin, but contain powerful Apple Cider Vinegar (naturally antibacterial) and Sea Buckthorn (skin-boosting) to quickly restore the skin to its healthy balance.
- Horse Spray: our most potent product, our Spray, contains cooling ingredients to soothe itchy and irritated skin, whilst boosting the skin with essential vitamins and minerals. Your horse’s sore or itchy skin will be calmed, whilst its strength is built up over time, making it more resilient. You can also use this product daily to maintain skin health and prevent future skin problems.
All our products are also suitable for horses with conditions such as sweet itch, dermatitis, skin allergies and more.
When to Contact a Vet
While many cases of rain scald can be effectively managed at home with natural treatments, it's essential to contact a vet if any of the following situations occur:
- If the condition worsens or doesn't improve with home treatment or natural products.
- If your horse develops a fever or shows signs of systemic illness.
- If rain scald leads to severe skin infections, sores or abscesses.
In conclusion, rain scald is a common condition among horses, particularly during wet seasons. Even with proper care in the form of preventative measures, a balanced diet and natural remedies, your horse may still be affected. However, by being proactive and attentive to your horse's needs, serious situations can be avoided and your horse’s skin will be back on track in no time.