Common Horse Skin Problems

Horses with skin problem

Taking care of a horse can be a lot of work, but any horse owner will tell you it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. Like humans, there are many things you need to watch out for when it comes to a horse’s health, including their skin. Several skin conditions can affect horses, ranging from benign cosmetic issues to more serious ailments.

Here are a few of the most common equine skin conditions that you should be aware of to keep your horse comfortable and healthy.

Rain Rot

Rain rot is caused by the bacterium Dermatophilus congolensis. Characterized by small, round scabs crowned with matted hair, rain rot lesions typically develop along the horse’s topline. The development of the disease is precipitated by moisture, and it’s common in animals who are immunosuppressed or out in the rain and bitten by insects. Rain rot is contagious and zoonotic, which means that other horses and humans can contract the condition.

It is recommended to treat rain rot with an antimicrobial shampoo, such as chlorhexidine or benzoyl peroxide. DO NOT harshly scrub the lesions, as this will irritate the skin and slow the healing process.


Scratches can refer to several skin conditions that occur on the back of a horse’s pasterns or bulbs of the heel. It often occurs in horses exposed to moisture for a long time, such as a muddy field or wet stall. Constant moisture can irritate delicate skin and cause inflammation, redness, and ulcers. Mud or dirty surroundings makes it ideal for bacteria or fungi to invade. Mild cases are usually amenable to simple cleaning and topical treatment. Consult your veterinarian for treating more severe cases.


Ringworm is a common skin infection caused by a fungus, not a parasite. It presents as round, raised lesions on the skin that may be itchy. Ringworm can be transmitted from horse to horse by direct contact or by sharing infected tack, brushes, clothing, or other equipment between horses. You can use an antifungal treatment to treat ringworm, such as a lime sulfur dip.

Most of these skin conditions are caused by exposure to excess moisture. The best way to keep your horse clean and dry is to invest in a custom horse shed or barn. Here at Deer Creek Structures, know how important it is to take care of your horse’s health and wellbeing. That is why we construct custom horse barns to keep your animals safe, secure, and protected from the harsh elements.

Give us a call today at (254)546-2276 to learn more about our custom-built sheds and barns!