Stopping the itch? Sweet!

By Connie Orcutt • Published: June 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

Sweet itch might conjure up cute images, but it spells misery to your horse. The term refers to an allergy that causes skin disease in sensitive steeds.

Horses allergic to black fly or midge bites can scratch themselves raw. Then if bacterial infections develop, problems multiply. Scabs form, skin flakes and thickens, and hair shafts break and fall out.

Serious signs need veterinary attention. But a big key to the treatment of sweet itch is prevention. Consider stabling your horse during the day when black flies are most active. Provide stall fans and mesh screens as fly barriers. Particularly sensitive ponies get additional protection from wearing a fly mask or sheet. Also ask your veterinarian about safe mist insecticides and topical insect repellants.

And when you’re able to stop the itch that buggin’ your buddy? Now that’s sweet.