Many Texans rely upon the weather for a variety of reasons. From crops to cattle, Texans are often at the mercy of Mother Nature. Although droughts can have a dire impact on animal health, floods can contribute to widespread issues among animal owners. Excessive rainfall can contribute to mosquito-borne diseases, toxic plants, dermatologic conditions, and many other diseases. The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) offers testing and diagnostic consultations to assist animal owners and practitioners with many issues contributed to flooding.
This is the final post in a series that cover the various animal health concerns contributed to flooding.
Here are some of the potential skin and foot concerns TVMDL encourages animal owners and practitioners to be aware of during periods of excessive rain.
Dermatophilosis (Rain Rot, Rain Scald, Scratches, Mud Fever)
This is a common bacterial dermatitis caused by Dermatophilis congolensis. The most important factors in the initiation of dermatophilosis are skin damage and moisture. The exudative, crusted lesions are found over the rump and topline, face and neck, and pasterns, coronets and heels in horses. Wet, poorly drained pastures and paddocks are commonly associated with the distal limb dermatitis. This skin infection can also be seen in cattle and sheep/goats. TVMDL can perform diagnostic testing for this skin infection. A definitive diagnosis is based on cytology, skin biopsy and culture. Consult a veterinarian for treatment options.
Foot Abscesses/Foot Rot
Wet muddy conditions can predispose livestock and horses to foot infections. Horses who are in wet, muddy pastures or paddocks are at an increased risk of developing a sub-solar abscess. The horse will present with lameness and should be examined by a veterinarian to determine the extent of the infection and foot structures involved.
Cattle, sheep, and goats that are in wet/muddy conditions are more likely to develop foot rot which is a bacterial infection involving structures of the foot. The infection involves the skin in the interdigital space (between the toes) and swelling of this area is often present. The animal will be lame and usually only in one leg. While spontaneous recovery is not uncommon, if left untreated the infection may progress to involve the joints and tendon sheaths of the foot and lower leg. If this occurs, the lameness will become more severe and swelling may extend up the leg. The treatment will depend on how extensive the infection is and it is recommended a veterinarian is consulted for options.
For more information on TVMDL’s test offerings, visit tvmdl.tamu.edu or call and schedule a consultation with one of TVMDL’s veterinary diagnosticians in College Station at 1.888.646.5623 or in Amarillo at 1.888.646.5624.
Download this flood series of posts in a comprehensive document here.