Friday, May 22, 2009

Treating rain rot

Marie has been having problems with rain rot on her legs. We'd been treating it with Betadine solution, but that hadn't seemed to help much, so my vet suggested using Silver Sulfadiazine cream. Using betadine is easy, you just squirt some on a wet sponge and gently rub it on the affected area then rinse it off. Using the Silver Sulfadiazine is rather more complicated. First you have to scrub off the scabs that have formed and clean out the affected areas very thoroughly to get down to where the bacteria/fungus is (Some rain rot is caused by bacteria, some by fungus). This is going to hurt. Most animals are not going to want to stand still for this. Then you have to dry the areas very thoroughly. This is not going to be very comfortable for the animal either. Finally you have to spread the cream on, and the cream apparently stings a little. So this is also not much fun for the poor critter. When my vet described this procedure to me, I was somewhat worried. Marie has come a very long way from the semi-feral donkey that I brought home, but I really didn't think that she would react well to the pain that this procedure was going to cause.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised. With me holding her lead rope and the promise of carrots waved in front of her nose occasionally, she actually stood very still and was very well behaved while my husband, Foxfire, did the dirty work. (I had to be the one holding her because she trusts me more.) At the very beginning, she sidled a little sideways until she was standing parallel to the fence, then she stayed in place. When I had to turn her so that my husband could get to the legs that were next to the fence, she turned very easily and simply stood next to the fence facing the opposite direction. The worst thing she did was pull her back leg away a couple of times while my husband was working on it. She wasn't cocking it to kick or anything, she was just pulling it away from the pain. She held it in the air for a couple of seconds, then carefully put it back down and allowed him to finish. I was very proud of her. The next time we treated her, she seemed to understand what to expect and was even better. She didn't sidle and didn't pull any of her legs away even once.

And the silver sulfadiazine seems to be working. Her legs are looking much better and we may only need to treat her one more time. So if your horse, donkey, mule or whatever has rain rot and betadine isn't fixing it. Ask your vet if you can try silver sulfadiazine.


  1. I am so proud of Mrie for cooperating! And what a cute little donkey! Would this work for hoof rot on goats, too?

  2. PS "myckie" is my daughter, but I wrote the above.

    Kelli Miller

  3. I don't know what causes hoof rot, but if it's a fungus or bacteria, it might be worth a try. Ask your vet.