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Treating Your Horse's Scratches, Rain Rot and RainScald also Called Mud Fever
Treating Horse Skin Conditions

Article from Banixx

Wet conditions leading to mud create prime conditions for the development of one of the most frustrating equine skin conditions: Scratches (also called Mud Fever, Pastern Dermatitis, Greasy Heel). Scratches is a chronic and progressive equine dermatitis that infects the deep layers of skin in the heel and pastern; scratches is a fungus that can have a bacterial component in more advanced stages. Horses that spend a lot of time in damp, muddy pastures are most susceptible to contracting scratches due to the constant wetting and drying of the skin on the legs and hooves.  It’s also commonly seen on show horses legs and pasterns, since those horses spend a lot of time in the wash rack and legs, are not always dried adequately.  Moreover, even if legs are dried well, the warm, moist conditions of a show horse environment make them an easy target.

How do I keep my horse from getting scratches?
Horse Scratches Before and After

If possible, keep your horse in a clean, dry stall and away from overly wet, muddy pastures.  Avoid early morning turnout when there is heavy dew or frost, and when you bring your horse in for the evening, dry his legs and check for early signs of infection.  For show horses, clean the legs after the competition and spray on Banixx liberally as a preventative.  Since Banixx provides an inhospitable environment to both bacteria and fungus, you can stay ahead of the game with any horse situation by spraying the lower leg area and pasterns with Banixx.  Pat it into the skin so that it makes good contact.   It’s not possible to over-medicate with Banixx™, so it can easily be used daily as a preventative. 

How do I treat scratches?
Though many people use harsh chemical mixes to treat scratches, this approach is rarely successful in eradicating 100% of infected cells.  Banixx provides a gentler and more successful approach. If needed, carefully clip the hair away from the infected area, making sure not to break the skin. Then, wash thoroughly with a Banixx Medicated shampoo (that already contains superior Marine Collagen as soothing agent). Pat the areas dry and, twice a day, apply a gentle, topical treatment, such as Banixx™, that will not burn or sting and will promote a speedy repair.

What is Rain Rot?
Rain Rot, also known as Rain Scald or Mud Fever, is a common skin disease in horses that is caused by the bacteria Dermatophilus congolensis. Although somewhat unsightly, it is generally not a serious condition. Banixx, used as a rain rot treatment, provides a simple, painless, swift, and cost-effective answer to this pesky problem.
Rain Rot

This particular bacteria normally live without consequence in the equine coat. However, rain, followed by slow-drying, humid conditions enables the organism to multiply. This may irritate the hair follicles and skin, leading to a bacterial infection and lead to rain rot. Rain rot, in the early stages, may just look like some scurfy or scabby area on your horse that is often found on the horse’s neck, back, and rump.  As time passes the infection progresses, and the horse’s hair dies and falls off, leaving the bare skin. The disease is more common in the spring and summer when rain and warmer temperatures provide a fertile environment for bacteria to grow and multiply. However, it can also crop up during the winter months when fluctuations in temperature cause horses to sweat, particularly if they are wearing winter sheets or blankets. Any warm, moist environment is a perfect setting for the Dermatophilus bacteria to grow.

Rain rot becomes most noticeable when it has advanced to the stage where there is scabby looking skin and/or accompanied by unusual hair loss. The hair tends to rise up in minor tufts that fall out if rubbed or brushed. A mild case will leave a smooth, hairless skin area behind, but more severe cases will leave small scabs or even open sores. Whether the condition is mild or severe, the horse may flinch from touch. And there may also be some associated heat in the affected skin.

The earlier that rain rot is detected, the easier it is to spare the horse the discomfort and associated cosmetic problems. In cases of more advanced rain rot, antibiotics may be required to assist with the healing. But, for the average rain rot case, regular treatments with a solid anti-bacterial solution such as Banixx will clear the affected area quickly.  Since Banixx has no odor nor any burn or sting, Banixx is exceptionally well tolerated as a treatment for rain rot.

Rain Rot Treatment
Avoid the temptation to pick the scabs, since removal is often painful for your horse and may lead to bleeding and/or possibly, to a more serious infection. Instead, soften the scabs with a mild medicated shampoo, such as Banixx Medicated Shampoo that contains superior marine collagen which moisturizes and soothes the skin.  Leave on your horse’s affected area for 15 minutes if possible. Even spot treat stubborn areas and rinse well; then blot the affected area gently with a clean towel to remove excess moisture. In the most difficult cases, where the rain rot scabs are hard, dense and stubborn, you may need to use mineral oil to soften them.  This will then be followed by Banixx medicated shampoo to remove all oil from the infected skin.  Again, leave the shampoo solution in place for at least 15 minutes then rinse it off and pat dry.  Following this, apply a quality, leave-on, antibacterial solution, such as Banixx.  Apply Banixx liberally so that it has a good chance to access the affected area and soak deeply into the skin.  Banixx needs to make good contact to work well.  Never rinse Banixx off, it is mellow yet potent on your horse’s skin and stays active for several hours.

Preventing rain rot can be a matter of good grooming. A dirty coat naturally contains more organisms and more skin debris, encouraging a bacterial infection. However, some horses are particularly susceptible to the disease and may need to be given extra protection in warm, wet weather to prevent attacks such as additional vigilance accompanied by regular Banixx treatments as a preventative. Because the disease is transferable, never share brushes, tack, and blankets belonging to an afflicted horse.

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