Don’t Let Sweet Itch Sour Your Summer

By Susan Aiello • Published: October 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Despite the name, equine sweet itch isn’t much fun. This allergy is caused by the bites of insects such as blackflies, midges and, of course, horseflies. It usually begins as a seasonal problem but can become a year-round affliction in places like Florida.

Allergens in insect saliva set off hives, bumps, scabs and an itch that won’t quit. Horses rub against posts and walls to get relief, which makes it worse.

Your pony pal looks to you for help, so keep up with fly control. Daily repellents on the chest, belly and ears can keep the bugs at bay, as can screens and automated insect sprays in barns. Even a blowing fan can help, because most flies struggle in windy weather.

Once the itch starts, your vet can prescribe medicated shampoos, dietary supplements or medications to soothe angry skin and return your horse’s normally sweet disposition.