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Rain Rot

Aardora helps speed healing in three ways. First, as a powerful, all-natural antimicrobial dressing, it protects your horse's damaged skin from harmful germs (bacteria and fungus). Second, Aardora's superior moisturizers quickly soothe itching, irritation, redness and swelling to deter over-scratching of tender lesions and crusts. Lastly, Aardora’s Active Earth Elements™ draw toxins and allergens away from the skin while providing essential mineral nutrients. Guaranteed results with no reported side effects.

About Rain Rot, Causes & Symptoms:

Rain rot is one of the most common skin infections seen in horses. Also referred to as "rain scald" or "streptothricosis", rain rot is caused by an organism called dermatophilus congolensis, which breeds in warm damp environments, such as areas with high humidity levels, snow-melting and rainfall. Horses with thick coats are also more susceptible because their hair gives bacteria a dark heated place to hide. Initial rain rot symptoms are inflammation, redness and infection. As the infection grows, the horse will develop scabby fluid-filled lesions. Then, when these lesions discharge serum (pus), the surrounding skin becomes matted and gives the coat a rough appearance. In addition to scabs and matting, you may be able to feel small lumps on the horse's skin by running your hand over the coat.

Symptoms are most common along the back and rump, as well as the back of the fetlock, the  and front of the cannon bone. In some cases, rain rot develops on the tips of the horse's ears and around the eyes or muzzle. When rain rot appears on the lower limbs (behind the fetlock), it is most commonly referred to as "dew poisoning".

How to Care for a Horse with Rain Rot:

Before treating rain rot, always clean your hands thoroughly so you do not accidentally spread bacteria to the surrounding areas. If possible, clear the affected area by clipping away hair with a set of grooming clippers or a small pair of first aid scissors. This will give you greater access, and give dirt less places to hide as your horse’s skin heals.  

Once the area is clipped, take a clean gauze or towel and soak it in an antibacterial solution, such as saline solution (contact lens solution) or hydrogen peroxide. Or, wet the towel and rub it with a gentle soap, then gently clean the area.

Gently pat the area dry with a towel. Use a topical (surface) skin protectant, such as Aardora, will manage the infection, discourage the spread of bacteria and keep the affected area clean throughout the healing process. Aardora will also relieve your horse’s inflammation and redness and encourage any pustules to drain. Afterward, cover the area with a gauze, wrap with a bandage and then secure with tape, being mindful not to wrap the bandage too tightly and cut off circulation to the affected area. While doing this, it is important to be as careful as possible so you do not cause further trauma to the skin. If you sense that your horse is in extreme pain or likely to become unruly, you may want to request the help of a vet to sedate the horse or provide pain killers.

In the following days, check your horse’s skin every 12 hours. Gently remove any scabs or crusts skin that have formed, clean the area with soap and water, apply Aardora ointment and apply a fresh clean bandage.

Although some horses will naturally get rid of the rain rot organism when they shed out their winter coat, you should not wait for this to happen. Treating rain rot proactively will help prevent a secondary bacterial infection (staph or strep) or limit the potential of bacteria spreading to other animals. If you know that your horse has rain rot, use disinfectant on any equipment that must be shared between horses. Dermatophilus congolensis is attracted to moist or warm conditions, so do not share sharing saddle blankets, leg wraps or brushes and until your horse’s rain rot is cured. Also, try to limit your horse's skin-to-skin contact with other animals.

Trying to Prevent Rain Rot...

To avoid future rain rot, try not to ride in deep sticky ground conditions. If the rain turns your arena into a swampy area, give your horse the day off and keep him/her inside until the field is a dryer and safer place. Also, keep your horse’s pen/stall dry by shoveling out any wet soiled patches and replacing them with dry bedding. There are lots of absorbent beddings available at feed or tack shops. Regularly remove manure from paddocks and pastures, and improve drainage if mud is a problem.


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Aardora Veterinary Health, Ltd.
PO Box 2182
Woonsocket, RI 02895
Phone 888-327-6215 or 401-228-9802

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