Rain rot isn’t just something to worry about in the spring, it can strike in the fall just as easily, which is why it’s important to prepare for the upcoming rainy seasons during the summer.
Caused by bacteria, rain rot, or rain scald, forms on the outer layer of the skin and produces large, crusty scabs. If left untreated, it can cause a large amount of discomfort to your horse, especially under tack or with blankets on.
Thankfully, the condition can easily be treated with medicated shampoos if caught early on. In severe cases, an antibiotic from your vet may be needed.
If your horse spends a lot of time outside in wet conditions, it is a good idea to run your hand through his fur and feel for a series of bumps along the back, hind, or legs. See pictures below for an idea of what to look for.
Try to keep your horses as dry as possible during the damp seasons to avoid rain rot altogether. Towel drying legs and damp areas after riding can make all the difference. Make sure your horse is completely dry and devoid of sweat before putting his blankets back on to avoid creating a warm damp environment that could create a breeding ground for bacteria.
(Originally published in November 2016).