Sweet Itch is one of the most common skin diseases seen in the horse.
- Sweet Itch is caused by hypersensitivity to the bite of tiny Culicoides midges.
- The fly is active from March to October but peaks in numbers in May to September.
- Horses start showing signs when they are between 1 and 4 years of age and the condition generally worsens with each summer.
- Certain breeds are more susceptible including; Icelandic horses, Friesians, Shetland ponies, Shires, and Welsh ponies.
- The worst affected sites are usually the tail head, under the mane and underneath the horses’ abdomen.
- Affected animals are very itchy, may rub intensely, and become restless. Prolonged rubbing results in crusting, scaling, skin thickening, hair loss and damage to the skin.
A few tips for Sweet Itch management:
- Good insect control is ESSENTIAL and should be the main focus of management.
- Stable the horse from 4.00pm until 8.00 am.
- Use specially developed rugs and hoods to provide protection.
We have a few medications available to help us combat sweet itch including a vaccination. If you would like more information on this condition and its treatment, please call the clinic on 01373 836186 to speak to one of our equine veterinary surgeons.