Here’s Our Quick Summary

Happily living on the skin of horses is a bacterium going by the name of Dermatophilus Congolensis. Like most things in the world, the relationship between your horse and their naturally skin residing companions is all about balance. 

The skin microbiome plays its role for a healthy immune system, among many other benefits. Their population is kept in check with the help of the flowing salts and oil excreted through the skin. However, excessive and persistent moisture will disrupt this balance and allow the bacterium to get a little out of control. The result? Mud fever on the lower limbs and rain rot over the head, neck and body. 

Both infections are notable by skin lesions characterised by a crust, and clumped hair and swelling will often be seen in mud fever. It may look nasty and sound severe, but thanks to the modern marvel of antibiotics, Dermatophilus Congolensis numbers can be reduced back to a healthy level. 
Whether you and your horse live in the UK, where we are all too well accustomed to heavy and persistent rain, or if you are fortunate enough to live in a warmer but humid climate, it can be challenging to avoid persistent exposure to moisture. However, there are a few tricks to reduce the chances and severity;


  • Clean and dry heels and pasterns daily. A homemade remedy of 50% baby oil and 50% vinegar can be applied once dry
  • Regular changeover of wet and dirty rugs with dry and clean ones
  • Simple washing with soap or shampoo can help to stop rain rot from getting worse
  • Tea Tree Oil is an antiseptic and one of the world’s natural wonders. A little spray of this fantastic natural product (dilute 1:9 with water) will help reduce the spread of infection
  • Diet supplements will help maintain and build up your horse’s natural immune system


So there you have it. The culprit is just an ordinary bacteria that has gone a little wild and out of control but is easily put back into its place with accessible and straightforward preventative measures, remedies and medicine.


How do you manage Rain Rot? Let us know in the comments below 👇👇


Healthy Horse - Maintaining a Strong Skin Microbiome


Maintaining a healthy skin microbiome for horses


Maintaining a healthy skin microbiome is of utmost importance for the well-being of our equine friends. Like humans, horses have a delicate balance of microorganisms that naturally reside on their skin, which is crucial in supporting their overall health and immune system.

Unfortunately, when excessive moisture enters the picture, this delicate equilibrium can be disrupted, giving rise to a prevalent skin condition known as rain rot. Rain rot, also known as rain scald or dermatophilosis, occurs when the bacterium Dermatophilus Congolensis takes advantage of the moisture-rich environment to flourish. As a result, our horses may develop skin lesions and experience discomfort.

This article will delve into the causes and symptoms of rain rot, shedding light on the significance of maintaining a healthy skin microbiome. Furthermore, we will provide valuable insights into practical preventive measures and effective treatment options to help you manage rain rot and ensure your horse’s skin remains healthy and happy. By comprehending and addressing this common issue, we can help our equine companions stay comfortable and thrive, regardless of weather conditions.

To effectively prevent rain rot and maintain a healthy skin microbiome for your horse, you can take several key measures. By prioritising cleanliness and dryness, you can significantly reduce the risk of rain rot and keep your horse’s skin in optimal condition.


  1. Cleanliness and Dryness: One of the fundamental pillars of preventing rain rot is maintaining cleanliness and dryness. Pay special attention to the heels and pasterns, as these areas are more prone to moisture buildup. Regularly clean and dry these areas to remove any dirt, debris, or sweat that may contribute to the development of rain rot.
  2. Daily Care and Maintenance: Incorporate a daily care routine for your horse’s skin to minimise the chances of rain rot. Gently clean the heels and pasterns, ensuring thorough drying afterwards. By implementing this simple practice, you can remove any accumulated moisture and create an environment less favourable for the growth of Dermatophilus Congolensis.
  3. Rug Management: Regularly changing wet and dirty rugs prevents rain rot. Damp or soiled rugs can trap moisture against the horse’s skin, providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Replace them with clean and dry rugs to maintain your horse’s dry and comfortable environment.
  4. Washing with Soap or Shampoo: Washing your horse with soap or shampoo can help prevent rain rot from worsening. These products aid in removing any bacteria or contaminants present on the skin. Be sure to choose a mild, horse-friendly soap or shampoo and thoroughly rinse it off to avoid any residue that could further irritate the skin.
  5. Diet Supplements: Consider incorporating diet supplements into your horse’s feeding regimen to support a strong immune system. These supplements can help boost the horse’s natural defences, making them more resilient to bacterial infections like rain rot. Consult a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the most suitable supplements for your horse’s needs.


By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of rain rot and promote a healthy skin microbiome for your horse. Remember, prevention is key to maintaining your horse’s well-being and protecting them from the discomfort of rain rot.


Treating Rain Rot

If your horse has already developed rain rot, prompt treatment is essential to alleviate discomfort and prevent the infection from spreading. While various over-the-counter remedies and medicines are available, one natural option that has shown effectiveness in reducing the spread of infection is Tea Tree Oil.
Tea Tree Oil is a natural antiseptic renowned for its antimicrobial properties. It can help combat the bacteria causing rain rot and promote healing. To use Tea Tree Oil, dilute it with water at a ratio of 1 part Tea Tree Oil to 9 parts water. This diluted solution can be applied directly to the affected areas using a spray bottle or a clean cloth. Ensure thorough coverage of the lesions and gently massage the solution into the skin. Tea Tree Oil can help reduce the spread of infection and provide relief to your horse.

In addition to Tea Tree Oil, other over-the-counter remedies and medicines are available to treat rain rot. These may include medicated shampoos, ointments, or sprays specifically formulated to target the bacteria causing rain rot. Follow the instructions provided on the product packaging for proper application and dosage.

It’s important to note that if the rain rot persists or the condition worsens, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. They can assess the extent of the infection and provide appropriate treatment options tailored to your horse’s specific needs. Severe cases may require prescription medications or additional interventions to effectively manage the infection and promote healing.

Remember, early intervention and consistent treatment are crucial in addressing rain rot. By taking swift action and seeking professional advice when needed, you can help your horse recover and prevent further complications.

Please consult a veterinarian before administering any treatments or medications to ensure the best course of action for your horse’s situation.