Sweet Itch advice please

Mum to a cob

New Member
May 17, 2021
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Hi, I’m after some advice from those of you who have experience of sweet itch. I’m a new owner to a lovely boy who came to me with SI he’s rubbed his mane so bad he’s going to need to see the vet, could I have some advice on steroid injections for it which is what I’m currently being advised, however I’ve been reading real mixed reviews about them. I’ve got everything sorted for prevention for the future, bucas rug, repellent, garlic, etc. I’m just not sure how to make the damage he’s already done better for him and him more comfortable immediately. Thank you. Xx
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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Make sure you discuss the risk from steroid injections with your vet before he has them, particularly if he's at all overweight or has a history of laminitis. For me they really are a last resort as the side effects can be very serious. I'd try topical steroid creams first, and antihistimines to try and break the allergic reaction.

Prevention is, as you rightly say, the best approach. Make sure you get a proper sweetitch rug as the blasted midges are small enough to get through the mesh of most normal fly rugs, and I'd keep the rug well coated with a good repellent too. Make sure that any exposed areas such as sheath and thighs are well protected with a fly repellent and barrier - midges don't bite well through grease or thick creams. Until the current allergic reaction has settled you may need to keep him inside electric tape so he has nothing to rub on and cause further damage to himself. Something like aloe vera or calamine lotion may sooth the current itching and soreness, but you'll have to apply it often to keep him comfortable.

Be wary of adding garlic, although it's thought to act as a repellent it also boosts the immune system which in his case is already overactive.
 

Mum to a cob

New Member
May 17, 2021
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3
Make sure you discuss the risk from steroid injections with your vet before he has them, particularly if he's at all overweight or has a history of laminitis. For me they really are a last resort as the side effects can be very serious. I'd try topical steroid creams first, and antihistimines to try and break the allergic reaction.

Prevention is, as you rightly say, the best approach. Make sure you get a proper sweetitch rug as the blasted midges are small enough to get through the mesh of most normal fly rugs, and I'd keep the rug well coated with a good repellent too. Make sure that any exposed areas such as sheath and thighs are well protected with a fly repellent and barrier - midges don't bite well through grease or thick creams. Until the current allergic reaction has settled you may need to keep him inside electric tape so he has nothing to rub on and cause further damage to himself. Something like aloe vera or calamine lotion may sooth the current itching and soreness, but you'll have to apply it often to keep him comfortable.

Be wary of adding garlic, although it's thought to act as a repellent it also boosts the immune system which in his case is already overactive.
That’s really helpful thank you, I was weary of the injections but like the idea of topical creams first. And I’ll stick to a repellent spray rather than Garlic 👍🏻 Thank you.
 
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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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All good points there, I’m very wary of systemic steroids, but even in those at risk you can normally get away with topical ones.

You may also want to consider keeping him in at dawn and dusk as that’s when midgies are most active.
 

Mum to a cob

New Member
May 17, 2021
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All good points there, I’m very wary of systemic steroids, but even in those at risk you can normally get away with topical ones.

You may also want to consider keeping him in at dawn and dusk as that’s when midgies are most active.
I’m definitely going to try and go for topical ones now thanks. Got the vet seeing him today. Thank you for your help.
 
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Lollykay

Active Member
Feb 11, 2017
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Hi, I haven't been on this forum for quite a few years, after my old desktop passed away and I forgot I was a member here, until I just tried to join:)

Regarding sweet itch. I am in the U.S. but we have horses who can have allergic reactions to the midge fly bites every bit as bad as horses in the UK. I had an Arab who was horribly allergic to midge fly bites and every spring it was an uphill battle to keep his belly line free from bites.

I did find a cure that lasted him several years until he passed at age 29, but first:

1. I kept his belly line washed twice daily and applied a combination of diaper rash cream that says "40% zinc oxide" on the label and hemherroid (sp?) ointment. The flies can't bite thru the diaper rash cream plus it stays on all day. The hemherroid ointment helps reduce swelling/itching.

2. Midge flies also lay microfilia under the skin, known as Onchocerca worms, aka neck threadworms. They aren't worms in the true sense but they can migrate into the eyes on rare occasion. If your horse has unexplainable sores on its face and neck, those are the neck threadworms.

They will not show up in a fecal exam as they are under the skin.

My Arab also had those sores. The first thing I did was to double dose him with pure Ivermectin. That means two full tubes of Ivermectin down the hatch at the same time. He was only 13.3H, so I was a nervous wreck; it took me two years to work up the nerve and I kicked myself afterward for waiting for so long.

Some horses need dosed again in a month but he didn't.

After he was done recovering from the NTW's rebelling under his skin at being "murdered", I ORALLY gave him 10CC's of injectable cow vitamin AD. I only gave it to him one time, at two week intervals, for only one month IN HIS FEED PAN.

My horses are on our farm. We don't have cattle but we live in a big cattle producing county so the Vitamin AD is readily available. The Valley Vet catalogue has it and no prescription is needed.

You just have to know you need a needle to draw it out of the bottle, then squirt the 10CC's into the feed pan - never inject it into the horse.

My Arab stayed "clean" of sweet itch for the next three years, until his end, plus his coat even became much softer and a richer color,

I know it all sounds "snakebite medicine-ish" but it does work. There is a gigantic thread on this subject on another forum but I don't think I'm allowed to link to the competition - it's where I got all my information to work up the nerve to dose my precious Arab:)

I hope this is helpful:)
 
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Mum to a cob

New Member
May 17, 2021
5
4
3
Hi, I haven't been on this forum for quite a few years, after my old desktop passed away and I forgot I was a member here, until I just tried to join:)

Regarding sweet itch. I am in the U.S. but we have horses who can have allergic reactions to the midge fly bites every bit as bad as horses in the UK. I had an Arab who was horribly allergic to midge fly bites and every spring it was an uphill battle to keep his belly line free from bites.

I did find a cure that lasted him several years until he passed at age 29, but first:

1. I kept his belly line washed twice daily and applied a combination of diaper rash cream that says "40% zinc oxide" on the label and hemherroid (sp?) ointment. The flies can't bite thru the diaper rash cream plus it stays on all day. The hemherroid ointment helps reduce swelling/itching.

2. Midge flies also lay microfilia under the skin, known as Onchocerca worms, aka neck threadworms. They aren't worms in the true sense but they can migrate into the eyes on rare occasion. If your horse has unexplainable sores on its face and neck, those are the neck threadworms.

They will not show up in a fecal exam as they are under the skin.

My Arab also had those sores. The first thing I did was to double dose him with pure Ivermectin. That means two full tubes of Ivermectin down the hatch at the same time. He was only 13.3H, so I was a nervous wreck; it took me two years to work up the nerve and I kicked myself afterward for waiting for so long.

Some horses need dosed again in a month but he didn't.

After he was done recovering from the NTW's rebelling under his skin at being "murdered", I ORALLY gave him 10CC's of injectable cow vitamin AD. I only gave it to him one time, at two week intervals, for only one month IN HIS FEED PAN.

My horses are on our farm. We don't have cattle but we live in a big cattle producing county so the Vitamin AD is readily available. The Valley Vet catalogue has it and no prescription is needed.

You just have to know you need a needle to draw it out of the bottle, then squirt the 10CC's into the feed pan - never inject it into the horse.

My Arab stayed "clean" of sweet itch for the next three years, until his end, plus his coat even became much softer and a richer color,

I know it all sounds "snakebite medicine-ish" but it does work. There is a gigantic thread on this subject on another forum but I don't think I'm allowed to link to the competition - it's where I got all my information to work up the nerve to dose my precious Arab:)

I hope this is helpful:)
Very helpful, thank you for your help. Xx
 

Mum to a cob

New Member
May 17, 2021
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3
@Mum to a cob how did it go with the vet?
Really well thank you, no injections for now, I voiced my concerns. He’s got a steroid cream, some antibiotics and anti inflammatory’s. Combined with his new fly rug and lots of spray he’s looking better already, mane is slowly healing nicely. The reaction obviously hasn’t left his system yet as he’s still itchy, so he’s staying out for a bit longer so he can’t rub, but all seems to be heading in the right direction thank you. Xx
 

scevsc

New Member
Oct 29, 2017
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This year all you can really do is fire fight. Next spring get his sweet itch rug on early- mine started wearing his in the middle of February this year. Don't be too quick to take his rug off in the autumn. If you can keep it on and cover with lightweight turn out rugs that will help him. You'll find lots of people promoting products that have worked for them. Unfortunately it doesn't mean they'll work for you as SI is so different with each sufferer. You just have to keep trying until you find one that works for you. This year I'm using Hilton Herbs supplement and lotion which seems to be helping mine. There are a couple of facebook groups which are really helpful.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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Surrey Hills
This year all you can really do is fire fight. Next spring get his sweet itch rug on early- mine started wearing his in the middle of February this year. Don't be too quick to take his rug off in the autumn. If you can keep it on and cover with lightweight turn out rugs that will help him. You'll find lots of people promoting products that have worked for them. Unfortunately it doesn't mean they'll work for you as SI is so different with each sufferer
My new cob is also a bit inclined this way, I fear. He's responded well to a good ordinary fly rug and mask but I'm interested in what other people are doing. Could you point me in the direction of the better Facebook groups please?
 

scevsc

New Member
Oct 29, 2017
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My new cob is also a bit inclined this way, I fear. He's responded well to a good ordinary fly rug and mask but I'm interested in what other people are doing. Could you point me in the direction of the better Facebook groups please?
I belong to 'Sweetitch Support' and 'Sweetitch, Kill the Midge'
 

Frances144

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Dec 21, 2011
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I use TurmerAid for arthritis from The Golden Paste Company with huge success on my horses and sheep.

Recently, they have brought out TurmerItch, in their product range - https://goldenpastecompany.co.uk/pages/turmeritch

If it works half as well as the TurmerAid, then I would recommend this product. I don't have anyone with sweetitch at present so cannot comment as I haven't used it but have seen some excellent reviews and I this company know their stuff.

You could also try to use LAMBIE10 as a discount code (it works for TurmerAid and might work for Turmeritch). You get 10% discount.
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
12,676
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Aimee donkey has bad sweet itch and wears a snuggy hood and sometimes 2-3 layers, This year i put her sweet itch rug on really early and she hasn't got any sores at all, sometimes she is wearing it in the autumn with a rug on top as if i take it off her too early she then rubs. If she has rubbed and has damaged the skin, i find that Killitch tends to calm it down.
 

Lollykay

Active Member
Feb 11, 2017
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United States
@Frances144 I looked at the “turmeritch” and it looks worth trying but I am in the U.S. If there’s a U.S. supplier (Amazon doesn’t count), I can’t find one. I know a lot of folks on a different forum who would be interested in this product, if it worked:)

We deal a lot with sweet itch, but nothing to the proportions you folks in the UK have to put up with.

I keep reading that many of you always keep your horses rugged—- how do they deal with that in your hottest months??? In most places In the U.S. horses would die from heat exhaustion if they had wear those special sweet itch blankets.

I have one hose with environmental sensitivit and sweet itch allergies. Thankfully I have found ways to control it with diet and additional vitamins AD & E.

I get the sense more of you board than have your horses on your own property. How does sweet itch rug management work under those conditions?
 

Lollykay

Active Member
Feb 11, 2017
159
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United States
@Frances144 that is a very generous offer:). Thankfully I don’t have major sweet itch issues to where I would impose upon you:)

I am forum acquainted with one or two U.S. folks who are at the point they will spend the shipping fee for anything that works. I posted the company’s link on that forum:).

The company needs to go “world wide” with this product, if it’s that good, lol.

Thanks again😀
 
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