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Scratches, rain rot and skin conditions, oh my!

Posted by Animal Care Team on
A white horse hoof on Absorbine Horse Care Blog

The horse’s skin hosts thousands of microorganisms like beneficial bacteria, fungi and viruses that exist in a symbiotic relationship. Most of the time they co-exist to support a healthy skin environment called a microbiome, but Mother Nature doesn’t help when persistent wet, muddy conditions linger. These conditions can increase the chances of an infection or development of skin conditions like scratches and rain rot.

Knowing how to identify and treat a skin condition as soon as it arises dramatically reduces healing time, so you can get your horses back to their normal activity levels faster.

These tips will help you recognize and respond to scratches and rain rot to promote rapid healing.


Chronically wet, muddy living conditions are more than a hassle to deal with at chore time. These environmental conditions can lead to scratches, which occurs when bacteria, often fungal, breaks through the horse’s skin causing a painful, itchy sensation[1].

  • Identifying scratches: Check your horse’s legs by looking for inflammation, scabs, redness and ulcers on the back of the pastern, fetlock and sometimes cannon bone.
  • Treating scratches: Caught early, a mild case can be successfully treated by cleaning the area with an antibacterial soap like Silver Honey® Medicated Shampoo. Then apply the fast-acting antimicrobial spray or gel like Silver Honey®.  The topical formulation combines the natural healing powers of medical grade MicroSilver BG™ and manuka honey to protect against 99.9% of bacteria to promote a speedy recovery.

While every horse is susceptible to scratches, heavy leg feathering and unpigmented skin can increase a horse’s risk for infection. Most mild cases can be addressed at home on your own. Should you see signs of lameness, swelling or infection, call your veterinarian.

  • Prevention: A clean, dry living environment is the best tool for preventing scratches. Keep stalls clean and improve drainage in the turnout areas as possible.

Rain rot:

A dormant bacterium lives on the horse’s skin[2]. But, extremely wet conditions, like a horse unable to dry off from a rain or sweating under a blanket, can wake bacteria from its slumbering state and create an infection called rain rot. Rain rot is contagious and spreads quickly through the use of shared grooming supplies, blankets, etc. Identifying and addressing rain rot right away reduces the risk of spreading.

Identifying rain rot: Look for clusters of lesions or scabs on your horse’s skin. Sometimes rain rot appears as large scabs while other times it simple be a small singular spot, but the risk of spreading is the same no matter the appearance.

Treating rain rot: The first step to treating rain rot is a thorough bath with Silver Honey® Medicated Shampoo or Fungasol® Shampoo to disrupt the bacteria. Ideally, the scabs will slough off on their own with the use of a daily topical treatment.

Once clean, protect the area with Silver Honey® an innovative formulation of medical-grade Manuka Honey and MicroSilver BGTM that stops 99.9% of bacteria. The unique combination of these two ingredients speeds up recovery time and gets your horse back to normal fast!

Prevention: Like with scratches, most mild cases of rain rot can be cleared up with consistent grooming and good hygiene. Disinfect blankets, tack and grooming supplies to help prevent future infections. In severe situations, you may need to work with your veterinarian to provide relief.

Pick your formulation

Silver Honey® Medicated Shampoo

Silver Honey Rapid Skin Relief Medicated Shampoo is a lightly lathering wash that quickly soothes irritated skin and treats fungal and bacterial skin conditions. It provides hydrating relief for itchy skin, and can be used as a wash for cuts and wounds. It can be used on its own, or as a first step in a treatment regimen followed by application of Silver Honey® Rapid Wound Repair products.

Silver Honey® Wound Care is available as a spray gel or an ointment, you can choose the product best matched to your preferences and your horse’s needs.

The spray bottle is ideal for large areas and provides an easy, touch free application. The ointment contains shea butter that helps condition the skin - the ointment will help soften scabs so the slough off naturally and help heal the skin underneath faster.

Silver Honey assortment



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