Rain scald

With the rain also comes Dermatophilosis, a bacterial infection in the skin.

Dermatophilus congolensis, the bacteria which causes rain scald in horses lies dormant until the skin is compromised in some way, such as prolonged wetting. Dermatophilosis presents as scabs on the skin, often over the back but also on the face. Lesions begin as weepy sores, which become crusty, and in severe cases can become swollen and contain yellow-green pus.

Diagnosis is based on clinical findings but scabs can be examined under a microscope, or the area swabbed and cultured to rule out other bacterial causes.

Treatment is centered on keeping the affected areas dry, which can be difficult in persistent rain. We advise using a waterproof cover or stabling the horse. Scabs/crusts need to be removed by soaking with iodine or chlorhexidine (Microshield®) twice daily. Topical creams may also be required. Scabs are infectious so dispose of them properly, ensure covers and equipment are washed/disinfected and not shared between horses.

If you have any questions please call the clinic and speak to one of our equine veterinarians.


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