It’s time to start thinking about summer skin allergies!
What is Sweet Itch?
What are the symptoms?
What should you do if your horse has Sweet Itch?
- Using a fly rug with hood and mask to cover all of the areas of the horse susceptible to bites is the most effective fly protection when out at grass.
- Stabling at dawn and dusk as midges generally feed most at these times. In the summer months it is safest to stable your horse from 4pm to 8am.
- Putting a fan in the stable will create air movement which midges don’t like.
- Fitting a fly screen onto stable windows and the door can protect horses against midges entering the stable.
- Moving the horse away from standing water and boggy land as midges like to breed on wet land and near water sources.
- Salves and creams can be applied to problem areas as midges aren’t able to bite through them. Nettex Itch Stop Salve Summer Freedom is ideal for this as it also has soothing properties to help break the itch, scratch, rub cycle.
- DEET based repellents are highly effective. Choose a long lasting insect repellent that contains DEET.
- Nettex Fly Repellent Advanced is a DEET based formulation with added moisturisers and conditioners for controlled release, giving up to 72 hours protection.
- Nettex Fly Repellent Standard is a high strength DEET formulation providing up to 24 hours protection.
- Nettex Fly Repellent Shampoo is a DEET based low foaming, easy rinse shampoo which will give additional protection when used in combination with Nettex Fly Repellent.
- Nettex Fly Repellent Wipes and Nettex Summer Fly Cream are also both DEET based and are ideal for horses that dislike sprays and for application to sensitive areas such as the face.
- Garlic can have natural repellent properties when added to the feed and many horses enjoy its taste, so it can be a useful addition to your insect avoidance strategy. Try Nettex Garlic Granules
- Your vet can prescribe medication to reduce the itchiness, however these treatments can have side effects and so need to be carefully discussed with your vet.
- Soothing salves or creams can help to relieve the itching. Nettex Itch Stop Salve Summer Freedom is ideal for this as it has soothing properties to help break the itch, scratch, rub cycle. It will also repel against new bites and promote hair regrowth. Preventative strategies are the key to itch control, so it is best to start using Nettex Itch Stop Salve Summer Freedom early in the year before the season starts with a once weekly application.
- Recent research in Canada has shown that supplementing the diets of sweet itch horses with Omega-3 Fatty Acids reduced horses’ skin reactions to midge bites. Nettex Linseed Oil is ideal as it contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids
To give the best results these measures should be started before the midge season. The sooner you notice sweet itch and start on a program of treatment and prevention the better off your horse will be. A horse can do a lot of damage in a short period of time when they start rubbing manes and tails. If your horse is showing severe symptoms or you are unable to get his sweet itch under control you must seek advice from your vet.