A sweet itch (also called Summer Itch or Queensland Itch) is an allergic reaction of the horses´ organism to the saliva of an insect. Every horse can exhibit the symptoms of a sweet itch but this disease can also be inherited.
What causes a sweet itch?
Especially imported horses (e.g. Icelandic horses) often suffer from this skin disease. Their immune systems are weak and can easily be affected. However, also other horse species like Haflingers, Friesian horses and Fjord horses often exhibit the symptoms of a sweet itch. Most of the horses show sore lesions in the area of the tail or mane. The animal suffers from the extreme itch and tries to scratch its back as much as possible.
Scientists found out that external influences and the animals´ husbandry influence the skin disease. Wrong feeding, a lack of movement and dust air weaken the immune system and make the horse more susceptible for allergies and other diseases (Herpes virus, worms, respiratory diseases).
Symptoms for a sweet itch
Directly after the sting of the insect the horse exhibits pustules. Sometimes these pustules are so small that one can hardly see them. The horse becomes very nervous, feels unwell and clearly suffers from the immense itch on his back. The animal tries to use every fence and wall for scratching. This causes sore lesions and the hair starts to fall out. Often the lesions start to suppurate so that even more insects get attracted and the disease becomes worth and worth.
Horses need a special protection against insects. First it can be very useful if the horse wears an eczema blanket on the pasture. Then the insects can hardly bite the horse anymore. Moreover the horse owner needs to regulate the time on the pasture: Especially in the evening and when it is windy there are less flies and therefore less hazards.
A very effective natural product for the prevention of insects and parasites and the daily horse grooming are all products made out of neem oil. Here you can find all detailed information about neem products.
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—All statements without guarantee—