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Treat Scratches, Rain Rot, and Sweet Itch with the Natural Healing Power of Silver Honey

Posted by Animal Care Team on
Horse skin with a healing wound. Silver Honey Rapid Wound Repair Blog, Absorbine Blog

In the horse world, skin conditions can escalate extremely quickly! Scratches, rain rot and sweet itch can cause real problems and even lameness if left untreated. Silver Honey® Rapid Wound Repair ointment and spray can help you battle all three! Here’s a how-to on beating each type of skin irritation.



Scratches, also known as pastern dermatitis, occurs when bacteria invade small cracks in the horse’s skin. Once infection takes hold, the tiny cuts begin to ooze and crust over to form hard, painful scabs. You can treat a mild case of scratches yourself, but severe cases may require veterinary attention.


Treating Scratches

The first rule of treating scratches (aka pastern dermatis, mud fever and greasy heel)is to leave the scabs in place. Attempts to remove them are very painful for the horse and may get you kicked. Instead, carefully trim the pastern hair and wash the area with an antiseptic shampoo. When you’re done, dry the area completely, using a hair dryer if necessary. Finally, apply Silver Honey® Scratches Spray ointment or spray gel. Repeat this every other day and, eventually, the scabs should slide off on their own. If they don’t, removing them gently while the skin is soft after washing can help facilitate the healing process.


Rain rot

This is a bacterial infection that spreads rapidly in a moist environment, causing raised bumps with scabby crusts and tufts of hair that stick up. The crusts will peel off, leaving bare spots and sometimes pus. Rain rot is usually exacerbated by humidity in the spring and summer months.


Treating Rain Rot

Get your horse out of the rain and bathe the affected areas with an antimicrobial shampoo and follow up with Silver Honey® Rapid Wound Repair ointment or spray gel directly on the affected area. Daily treatment for a week is usually suggested, and peeling off the loose scabs can help in the healing. If the condition doesn’t improve after a week, call your vet. Use of waterproof sheets or blankets, regular grooming and disinfection of clothing worn by affected individuals will help prevent future infections. Make sure to clean your grooming tools, saddle pads, blankets and other communal supplies and not share them while dealing with a rain rot infection.


Sweet itch

The seasonal return of winged pests can trigger skin allergies associated with their bites. Hypersensitivity to the saliva of tiny biting midges (Culicoides spp.), also called sweet itch, is one of the more severe reactions. Any horse can be affected, but Icelandic Horses, Welsh Ponies and Shires are most susceptible because of a genetic predisposition to the condition. The most obvious sign of the allergy is extreme itchiness, with the horse rubbing himself hairless and raw when seeking relief. Areas where the insects like to feed—the chest, midline, crest and top of the tail—are often damaged the worst.


Treating Sweet Itch

Prevention is the best cure for sweet itch. Keeping horses inside when pests are more active—primarily dawn and dusk—helps protect them. Invest in a good fly sheet with a belly band, dependable fly spray, fly boots and a mask with ear nets. Look for garments specifically made for horses with sweet itch. If the horse is kept in a stall, fine-net screens over windows and doors can keep pests out.


If your horse is already dealing with sweet itch and has created a sore from rubbing himself, Silver Honey® Rapid Wound Repair ointment or spray gel can help heal the sore and soothe the surrounding area.


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