Below is a report from Lisa on Raven’s rain rot and the care she is receiving from SAFE to heal:
Raven came to SAFE in January not only severely underweight, but with one of the worst cases of rain rot we have seen. Huge patches of her back, hips, and rump were covered by the crusty bacterial infection, the rest of her long, unhealthy coat (what we call a “starvation coat” that will shed out as her body receives and adjusts to proper nutrition) and mane in mats. Our Operations Director, Herd Health Manager, Barn Managers, and volunteers began to treat this infection by applying an anti-microbial spray, letting it soak, then pulling up the hair and scabs that came loose.
“Raven’s rain rot is pretty bad… the worst I’ve had to clean. …the chunks started just falling out. Some dry but most had puss on the ends of the pieces. She stood and ate with a handler at her head.” ~Terry Phelps, Operations Director
Rain rot is caused by a bacteria (Dermatophilus congolensis) that lives dormant in the outer layer of skin and can cause small, pinpoint lesions when the skin is compromised; exposed to prolonged wetness, high humidity, extreme heat, or even biting insects. The bacterium then produces little threadlike tentacles (hyphae) that penetrate the living epidermis (skin) and spread like mad…. If left untreated, the horse can develop small lesions or, in extreme cases huge, painful patches of infected skin; such was the case with our Raven!
Providing a dry habitat and attentive grooming can prevent and, with the addition of antimicrobial baths and/or sprays, correct this condition; but it does take time. Raven is very young and has been mostly unhandled up until her time at SAFE… despite this, she has proven to be a very mild-mannered young lady and accepts our grooming, picking, and spraying with very little fuss. Her case of rain rot has made VAST improvements over the past two months and is now predominantly new skin growth with very few affected patches. With continued exposure to handling, regular grooming, a healthy and nutritious diet, and an introduction to manners and groundwork, we have zero doubt that Raven will be a lovely mare, aesthetically and in temperament; and she is already on her way to being an exemplary SAFE equine citizen!