Spring time may mean longer days and lighter evenings for riding, but it also brings with it warm, muddy and wet conditions which can be the perfect environment for certain diseases, such as rain scald, to thrive.
Here at Bridleway we have pulled together all you need to know about rain scald so that you can spot the signs and symptoms, however it is always advisable that you talk to your vet to confirm any diagnosis.
What is rain scald?
Rain scald is a common skin disease caused by a bacterial infection. The disease creates scabs on the surface of the skin and can be uncomfortable for the horse. Once identified it is easily treatable.
It often effects horses in wet and humid environments, where insects can bite and spread the disease.
What symptoms should I be looking out for?
Rain scald can be easily identified by looking at the affected area of skin which will be covered by crusty scabs; these can vary in size and often have matted tufts of hair attached.
Although the scabs can be uncomfortable for the horse, the affected area is not usually itchy. The disease can often appear on the horses back and neck, where the rain runs off the coat.
Treatment of rain scald
Although minor cases of rain scald can heal on their own it is advisable to treat all cases. Affected areas should be treated with an antibacterial rinse, then the scabs gently removed, allowing the skin to breathe.
Dry the skin by using clean towels to ensure the bacteria is not reintroduced to the affected area and finally apply an antibiotic topical cream to encourage healing. If possible, it is suggested that your horse is brought into a stable to ensure they stay dry until they have recovered.
It is always advised that a vet visits the horse and they may wish to send a skin sample to a lab to confirm the diagnosis. In severe cases antibiotics may also need to be prescribed. Recovery from rain scald can take several weeks, during which time you may not be able to ride your horse.
Rain scald is a common disease, so don’t panic if you spot the symptoms. What’s important is to speak to your vet and ensure your horse receives the right treatment quickly.