With a few sim­ple steps at the first signs of trou­ble you can keep this gen­er­ally mi­nor skin in­fec­tion from grow­ing out of con­trol.

EQUUS - - Handson - By Lau­rie Bon­ner

Of­ten, the first signs of rain­rot arise just hours af­ter a horse is brought in from the rain: Tufts of hair be­gin to stand upright in patches over his back, some­times fol­low­ing the con­tours of the “drip line” where wa­ter runs off of his body. Or the tufts might ap­pear on the legs, where he has been wad­ing in deep, wet grass. The ar­eas with raised hair feel warm to the touch, and the horse may flinch from con­tact. By the next day painful, tight scabs will have formed over pock­ets of yel­low-green pus.

Rain­rot is an in­fec­tion caused by Der­matophilus con­golen­sis, which usu­ally re­sides on the skin in a dor­mant state with­out caus­ing trou­ble. How­ever, per­sis­tent mois­ture can ac­ti­vate the bac­te­ria, lead­ing to in­fec­tion. Ad­vanced age, ill­ness, stress, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of cor­ti­cos­teroids or other fac­tors that can com­pro­mise im­mune func­tion in­crease a horse’s sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to rain­rot.

Al­though it’s not the most se­ri­ous skin in­fec­tion a horse can con­tract, rain­rot can cause dis­com­fort and hair loss, so it’s good to get a de­vel­op­ing case un­der con­trol as quickly as pos­si­ble.

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