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Rain Rot
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JulietMacie
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 Posted: Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 08:03 pm
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Hi,

my mare gets what I believe is rain rot every year at this time (early to mid June). The sores are weepy, yellow crusty areas mostly on her face and ankles. I treat her with Micro-tek medicated shampoo and spray or spritz on some Betadine and they go away after a couple of weeks, but I'm wondering if there's a way to head this off before the outbreak. Why is she prone to this? is there a nutritional factor? or a hygiene routine I should be doing?

thanks, Juliet

Mare`s Tales
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 Posted: Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 11:19 pm
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My horses never get rainrot and I do not live in a dry climate.

I found that if I brush (or use a shedding blade) them periodically all year round,(even the old retirees that are no longer ridden), the grooming smoothes out those little triangles in the hair that form when they get wet.

After a rain, those triangles dry and with the help of the horse`s own body heat, can provide an ideal enviroment to grow the kinds of unwanted stuff that can thrive and can give the horses trouble. Those little triangles that form, I believe, are nature`s way of directing the water off of them quickly before they get soaked to the skin, like shingles on a roof, but sometimes, if conditions are just right, those little triangles can get things growing under them. The idea is to break up those little triangular clumps often enough after the horse dries to prevent a desireable enviroment for rainrot to get started. I suppose horses in the wild groom each other enough (particularly on each other`s backs where you see a lot of rainrot get started) and roll or rub on things enough to break up those clumps but, horses that are kept need a helping hand by us to groom them.

If your horse is late shedding out because of health problems such as Cushings or old age, then the longer hair would certainly aid in getting the rainrot started. Common sense tells me that if the horse`s immune system is at all compromised that they would be more susceptible too.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Wed Jun 24th, 2015 07:45 am
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Hi Juliet
Your description of yellow, crusty, weeping sores makes me wonder if this is photosensitisation rather than rainrot? Can you post a close-up photo of some of the sores on Macie's face?

If the sores are appearing on the white areas of the face (?), and at the same time each year perhaps there is a particular toxic weed or fungal mycotoxin on hay or pasture that is the real culprit. There is a lot of good information about the connection between toxins and photosensitisation in Dr Deb's Poisonous Plants e-book, or you can look at a brief summary on the Mycotoxins page of my website.

Pauline

JulietMacie
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 Posted: Fri Jun 26th, 2015 11:38 pm
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Hi Pauline,

thanks for your thoughts. The sores are not only on the white areas (see photos below) and I was wondering about something they're eating in the pasture, but they've been on different pastures (home vs. boarding barn) and they still get the sores. Maybe these pictures will help...maybe it's not even rain rot at all!

This area on her cheek (which is really almost dried up and healed at this point) seems rain-rot-ish, but you'll see the following sores look different...

thanks
Juliet

Attachment: rainrot1.jpg (Downloaded 157 times)

JulietMacie
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 Posted: Fri Jun 26th, 2015 11:39 pm
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more sores...

Attachment: rainrot3.jpg (Downloaded 154 times)

JulietMacie
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 Posted: Fri Jun 26th, 2015 11:39 pm
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and another on the other mare...

Attachment: rainrot4.jpg (Downloaded 154 times)

Mare`s Tales
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 Posted: Sat Jun 27th, 2015 12:16 am
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Hi Juliet,

That does not look like rainrot to me. The second photo looks like a tick bite. Have you found any ticks on those horses? Wood ticks seem to favor manes and tails while Deer ticks will bite horses anywhere. Even if a person sprays their horse with insecticide, if they miss a spot, the deer ticks seem to find that spot to latch on to.

Maybe you are not dealing with just one culprit.

Mare`s Tales

JulietMacie
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 Posted: Sat Jun 27th, 2015 12:54 am
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Mare's Tale, perhaps you're right! This has been the tickiest spring in memory! I've taken many a tick off these horses in the past weeks. But I wonder why a tick bite would create such a relatively large, flat bare sore... The patch on her cheek looks more rain-rotty, would you agree?

Juliet

Mare`s Tales
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 Posted: Sat Jun 27th, 2015 01:49 am
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I would consider that the place on her cheek might be where she got bit by a tick and rubbed it because it was itchy and uncomfortable. Deer ticks around here will sometimes bite and then drop off before you even see them, especially if they are nymphs but they can leave behind a bite that is itchy.

Do you use any tick repellent and do you know what kind of ticks are in your area and have been on her?

As for her cheek, sometimes horses will try to rub a fly mask off and get the same kind of hairloss.

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Sat Jun 27th, 2015 10:06 am
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Dear Juliet: The area on your mares cheek does look like what some of the folks at my barn have called ,'rainrot.' on their horses this past spring. Oregon where we are seems to be the world capitol of rainrot and skin infections concomitant with the endless cold winter rains we get. Sidekick had rainrot/scratches for over a year. 3 skin biopsies showed only normal skin bacteria combined with normal fungus.. He developed hives necessitating deximethiscone, which depressed his immune system. Vet number 3 advised discontinuing the dex, and letting his immune system cope with it all.. while using standard clorhexidrene blue wash.. after a few months the immune system did finally give the heave ho. What worked for me was playing musical Vets to find one could come up with a workable strategy.
I suspect Paulines idea about photosensitation may be the path to pursue.
Best wishes
Bruce Peek

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jun 28th, 2015 10:09 am
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Juliet -- I completely agree with Mare's Tales -- what you're looking at are tick bites in various stages of irritation or healing.

There are a few things you can do to prevent and/or treat tick bites:

(1) Trim the mare's tail so that it's shorter than the tallest grass she typically walks in. Some ticks crawl up trees and then fall (or leap) down onto the horse when it passes underneath, but an even larger number crawl about on the ground or hang around on grass leaves and stalks, and then get on the horse from the bottom. They love to crawl up the tail, so if you shorten the tail you will at least have fewer ticks in the tail.

(2) If possible, keep horses in open pasture so that they don't get under trees.

(3) The two favorite places for ticks to attach, once they get on the horse, is at the root of the mane hairs and at the root of the tail hairs. Be sure to inspect not only the mane but the dock, every time you groom. An attached tick feels like a little round mole.

(4) I just saw the GREATEST tick key in the latest Lee Valley/Veritas catalog. Look them up online -- they are a wonderfully high quality tool company. A tick key can be attached to your keyring -- it's used to pull the tick off without breaking the body off the head, which can result in a bigger irritation/localized infection than if you'd left it alone to drop off by itself. Added boon: tick key is also useful on dogs and people.

(5) When you find the yellow-crusty circular lesions that the tick leaves behind after it has sucked the blood and had its fill and then detached, they are very itchy. Wash the area with a mild solution of Betadine, and then relieve the itch by following with a little dab of good old Bactine (buy a small bottle in the pharmacy).

(6) Ask your vet whether he or she knows of any insecticidal that you can either spray or wipe on, or chemical-infused strips or such that you can tie into the horse's tail -- which are both safe and effective. I know of no such -- the sprays and wipes don't last, are too weak to be effective, and the old "pest strips" that used to work have been shown to be strong enough to kill ticks but also they are toxic to the horse and to the person, too. If the vet tells you something good, let us know what it is!

I see no lesion in your set of photos that remotely resembles rainrot. Rainrot lesions are caused by a skin fungus, and they are typically target-like, circular in such a way that you can see that they've grown from a small center outward. The seasonal nature of your problem certainly could have related to pasture plant toxicity/photosensitization, but the lesions are not consistent with that at all. The patch on her cheek is the only lesion that does not look like a tick bite and that might have a fungal component; I would not worry too much about it unless the hair starts coming off in a bigger patch and/or the skin looks wet and weepy (rather than crusty, as with the tick bites). If this eventuates, treat by washing with Betadine and follow with a drying powder or lotion such as Wonder Blue or Calamine lotion.

One really does have to have kept horses for a while to get to know all the "spots" that can occur -- Dr. Matthew used to say that we needed a "skin spot and bump dictionary" and Equus Magazine used to publish one; don't know if they still do, but you might go ask. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

JulietMacie
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 Posted: Wed Jul 1st, 2015 04:02 am
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Thank you ALL for your great help with this! and yes, there certainly is a vast universe of sores, abrasions, infections, fungi and microbes to keep track of!

Juliet

cruisinlight
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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2015 06:24 pm
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Hi, I'm coming late to this discussion, which has been covered thoroughly. My comment is in relation to something mentioned in the original post.

The Eqyss Microtek products warn on the bottle to never use them with products that contain iodine (which includes Betadine). This combination can burn the horse's skin. You can apply the Microtek, or you can wash with Betadine or iodine, but please don't use both of them together.



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