Treating Rain Rot in Dogs and Horses

February 05, 2021

Treating Rain Rot in Dogs and Horses

Skin diseases appear in many different forms and rain rot (aka rain scald, mud fever or Dermatophilus congolensis) is one more way an infection can present itself in dogs and horses.

Yeast is part of the fungal kingdom (the world of mushrooms and molds) while d. congolensis is a part of the bacterial world (in the family of viruses, amoebas, and plants).

Yeast is a naturally occurring function of our skin. It lives on our skin and only becomes a problem when it experiences a ‘bloom” or finds an entry into the top level of skin (the epidermis). Yeast dermatitis or Malassezia dermatitis is caused by the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis. 

D. congolensis is also a part of the natural world and works in the same way as yeast, seeking out a point of entry to do it's damage. 

Luckily, DERMagic is excellent at treating both conditions!

What Causes Rain Rot or Rain Scald in Dogs and Livestock?

Rain rot is a bacterial infection that occurs when extensive moisture allows the bacteria to invade the surface layer of the skin. The condition is commonly mistaken as ringworm. However, while ringworm scabs lift off and cause fur loss, Rain Rot results in open sores, scabby sores and fur loss.

“D. congolenis is an actinobacterium that has fungal qualities in that it produces filamentous hyphae, or threadlike projections that extend from its outer capsule like tentacles or feeler roots,” reports Noll Veterinary Hospital.

“These ‘tentacles’ probe and infiltrate the skin tissues causing a significant inflammatory response from the horse’s immune system resulting in oozing, scabby lesions. The bacteria can live benignly on a healthy animal’s skin, multiplying rapidly and causing disease when conditions become ideal.”

D. congelenis is opportunistic - meaning rather than exploiting an unhealthy skin, it utilizes skin that has been compromised by environmental conditions (such as humidity, rain, biting insects, etc).

This is very similar to how Alopecia X and Black Skin Disease develops. In fact, your vet may diagnose your pet as alopecia X when it is actually Dermatophilus congolensis.

Is Rain Rot Contagious?

Yes, and so animals should be treated immediately and any equipment shared should be sterilized before and after use. Humans can also get it through small cuts in the skin, so be sure to wear latex gloves when working with the animals.

Treating Rain Rot in Dogs and Horses

The first step is to remove the scabs that are on the dog’s back, but this must be done very carefully and gently. The bacterium lives in the scabby tissue, so it’s important to dispose of it properly. Most experts suggest burning the material that has been removed.

To gently remove these scabs, we prefer using our shampoo and conditioner bars and Dead Sea Salt Scrub.

This helps make the experience more comfortable for the dog and allows healing to begin more quickly.

  1. Wet the dog down in the tub and take a handful of salts, gently massage along the back and legs. Don’t apply too much pressure, just let the salts do the work for you.
  2. Follow up with our shampoo and gentle conditioner.
  3. After the bath, dry completely. You can then apply DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion.

Bathing should be done no more than once a month, but the skin rescue lotion should be applied daily. It’s suggested you wear latex gloves to avoid spreading the infection to you or other members of the household.

The scabs that form on your pets also house the bacteria. It’s important to keep these areas free from scabs and sterilized against future infection.

Once your dog is clean and dry, apply DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion to affiliated areas. The lotion should be applied twice daily during the first week, then once daily after that.

The length of time you will need to apply the lotion daily will depend on how advanced the condition has become. Be patient - it can take several weeks to clear an active infestation of yeast or bacteria.

Preventing Rain Rot

The best way to prevent rain rot is to provide your horses or dogs with regular grooming, a healthy balanced diet, and protection from the elements.

Regular checks of your pet’s coat and skin will help you identify problems before they start. Should you discover any unusual bumps or scabs, it's best to treat immediately. 

DERMagic is an effective and all-natural method of treating rain rot in dogs, horses and cattle. To treat, follow the directions for treating alopecia X. If left untreated, this condition may result in secondary infections that are potentially much more dangerous. 


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