After a long Cowboy Christmas haul this year, I came home to find one of my horses eaten up with the summer itch (or sweet itch). The poor guy looked like he had a bad case of the mange; it was that bad. I’ve personally never seen summer itch that bad or hope to ever see it again.
For a horse summer itch is just a really good excuse to rub previously long, pretty manes and tails out. It usually starts out with the chest or tail head, and can increase to the rest of the body.
One might think that the best way to treat this is doctoring the affected (bare skin) areas, but that method only treats the symptoms and not the root cause.
Summer itch is a common name for a condition called summer seasonal recurrent dermatitis (SSRD). It is caused by a sensitivity or allergy to a biting gnat called the Celicoides midge, but many people call them “no-see-ums”. These gnats are usually a problem from April to October and can travel up to a mile.
READ MORE: Silver Bay Horses Breed
Horse Sweet Itch Treatment or Home Remedies
Stop the itch:
1. Start off with a good soak. You can use whatever shampoo you normally use, just make sure to scrub good. Is the horse itching all over? If so, make sure to wash the entire body very well.
2. After the horse is dry, you can apply a topical spray to the affected areas such as:
Try – Fung-A-Way Topical Spray [https://ownthehorse.com/silver-bay-horses-breed/]
If you don’t have this on hand, you can make your own solution.
Mix water with olive oil or Aloe Vera oil then add several drops of essential oil, such as tea tree or rosemary.
This oily mixture will help prevent the mites from biting while soothing the already irritated skin.
The first two steps aid in the discomfort, while the next two help prevent future irritation.
3. If possible, ask your vet if an allergy shot would be helpful. This can prove extremely helpful to some horses.
4. Next, you can buy a bulk package of equate or off brand allergy medicine. The dosage is 10 crushed pills, twice a day for an average sized horse.
Omega-3’s are potent for anti-inflammatory purposes.
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Fish oil
ALSO SEE: Alfalfa Pellets or Beet Pulp for Weight Gain? ANSWER HERE
How to Prevent Summer Itch
1. Feed your horse Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with regular feed before the symptoms occur. You will want to start this at first sign of spring.
2. Prevent standing water from becoming stagnant around your horses.
3. Provide fans in horse stalls to deter the gnats. They do not fly easily in wind.
4. If possible keep a fly sheet and fly mask on your horse.
5. Apply fly spray liberally at least twice a day.