Rainrot is a common, painful skin condition affecting horses that are exposed to rainfall for an extended period of time. Caused by an opportunistic bacterium, a horse exposed to wet, humid conditions can rapidly develop a crusting infection that causes tight scabs in a drip pattern down his back, rump and flanks. Rainrot can also show up on areas of the horse that are in contact with wet grass, like on the lower legs and muzzle.
Though many horses can be treated for rainrot with over-the-counter products, older horses and those with comprised immune systems tend to get more-severe infections that may require veterinary intervention. When dealing with a severe case, a vet will generally sample the crusts and examine it under a microscope, looking for the specific bacteria that causes rainrot.
A New option available to veterinarians is the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology. This DNA-amplification technique is commonly used in gene sequencing and forensic analysis, as well as for diagnosing infectious diseases. Extremely sensitive, PCR is a routine diagnostic test for most labs and it’s affordable: The test isn’t as expensive as most cytology tests.
Once run, it can differentiate between rainrot and other skin conditions, which will assist in determining a course of treatment, shortening the trial-and-error efforts sometimes needed to assist with healing.
Read more at EQUUS magazine.
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