Rain Scald / Greasy Heel / Mud Fever / Sunburn / Mycotic Dermatitis
These names all refer to dermatitis caused by Dermatophilus congolensis with other secondary bacterial and fungal contaminants common.
This infection occurs after excessive wetting of the skin [heavy persistent rain or long-wet grass], insect bites or gravels rash on the hind-cannons.
Matting of the hair at skin level progresses into scabs which when removed leave bald patches. A purulent [pus] discharge is often found under the scabs and the skin may be moist and grey-to-pink depending on the stage of the infection.
In severe cases the affected area may be very painful and swollen resulting in lameness and resistance to touch.
- Remove to dry area. A covered stable with raised dry and clean bedding. Most horses will recover spontaneously in 3 to 4 weeks once removed from the cause.
- Remove scabs, which are a continuous source of infection. Mild cases, may be cleaned with a medicated wash [Betadine] and gentle massaging scabs off the skin.
- Dry the skin thoroughly before applying an oily medicated ointment [eg. Prednoderm].
- Aim to remove new scabs daily and re-apply ointment but avoid excessive soaking of the skin by over-washing.
- Severe cases may be too painful to remove the scabs initially. Again remove to a dry area and spray with Betadine antiseptic twice daily until pain regresses.
- A tranquilliser may be required to allow initial cleaning.
- Occasionally systemic antibiotics and anti-inflammatories may be required to reduce swelling and pain.