No more itchy horse! - Page 2

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No more itchy horse!

This is a discussion on No more itchy horse! within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    08-14-2013, 08:09 PM
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
Do not feed raw flax seed without exposing it to high heat, ie boiling it. It contains arsenates which are in the arsenic family of poisons. The heat destroys this property. Powdered flax is safe as it has been exposed to high heat.
Woah I've heard exactly opposite, boiling it causes the mixing of the two properties that causes cyanide. If you leave it unboiled the two pieces don't combine.
"People who boil or soak their flax seed often do so because they believe that otherwise the flax might contain harmful levels of cyanide, which is toxic. In truth, while the seeds do contain the two components necessary to create cyanide, they are in different parts of the seed. Ironically, itís the contact with water that brings the two components together and causes the formation of cyanide. Soaking is actually the most dangerous way to feed flax."
Flax Seed: How and why to feed it | EQUINE Ink
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    08-15-2013, 03:33 AM
See cyanide-flax link in the article
Flax Meal & Cyanide | LIVESTRONG.COM

Is Flax Seed Safe to Use in Horses? | SmartPak Equine Blog

I have been feeding flax seed for quite some time now and haven't had any issues with it. There is a link to a journal article in the second link that is quite interesting. Although I do come from a heavy science background (specifically chemistry) so that might just be me nerding out
PunksTank likes this.
    08-15-2013, 10:16 AM
If you can target itchiness/rubbing before there are any lesions, I have heard that washing (everyday... ugh...) with Head and Shoulders can work~
    08-15-2013, 11:14 AM
Unfortunately this sort of itchiness is caused by an allergic reaction to bugs. So it's just impossible to avoid, frequent washing can help so long as you don't dry out the skin :S it's a tough balance.
I've found mixing witch hazel with Apple Cider Vinegar in a spray bottle I can spray it on - it definitely helps relieve the itch instantly. But ONLY do that if there aren't any open sores, it'll sting pretty terrible on anything open.
showjumperachel likes this.
    08-15-2013, 09:48 PM
I have been making my own bug spray with apple cider vinegar and pure citronella oil, it works very well also for both the bugs AND the itching. And I feed flax (whole seeds, raw). I used to grind it but then I read a study that concluded it makes no difference. Two of my horses rubbed big sections of their manes and tails out last summer, this year they have hardly rubbed at all.
showjumperachel likes this.
    08-15-2013, 11:08 PM
Originally Posted by PunksTank    
Unfortunately this sort of itchiness is caused by an allergic reaction to bugs. So it's just impossible to avoid, frequent washing can help so long as you don't dry out the skin :S it's a tough balance.
It's a tough balance.....that's the understatement of the century! I found (after much trial and error, poor horse) washing once a week with a tee tree oil shampoo to be a good balance.

I've encountered a new problem this evening though. It happened yesterday and I ignored it thinking it was just a fluke. But now that its happened twice in a row I'm a little concerned. I went to put hydrocortisone cream in-between my geldings hind legs and he tried to kick me! He has never gave any indication of kicking me, ever, so I was quite surprised. He used to LOVE having there scratched, so I'm not quite sure what happened. Maybe that the skin is no longer itchy it is more sensitive now? I'm just afraid to stop putting the cream on in case he reverts back to itching again.
    08-15-2013, 11:09 PM
Thanks Katie! I might have to try that instead of buying fly spray from now on. Where do you usually purchase pure citronella oil from? I've heard many good things about apple cider vinegar.
    08-15-2013, 11:25 PM
I am not actually sure but I suspect a lot of health food/natural food stores carry it. I purchased a fairly large vial of it at a garage sale, it says 100% natural and I only use a few drops in a bottle of spray. The vial is still 3/4 full so will definitely last the rest of the summer, and beyond. Plus it smells way better than the commercial sprays. I even like the vinegar smell, and have read that if it is used on them regularly it changes the Ph of their skin and the bugs do not find them attractive.
    08-16-2013, 03:36 AM
Originally Posted by showjumperachel    
xlntperuvian: A whole cup of flax? Wow! Maybe I should give him a little bit more. He has only bee getting about 3 tablespoons a day with his grain.
Since you are also feeding wheat germ oil you might not need as much flax. I have never given my mare wheat germ oil. I may have to try it! I'm also not certain I use a whole cup, I'll have to do a measurement to be sure.

Here's the link to the article about flax seed and skin conditions from The Horse Magazine. This article says that flax seed has no adverse side effects:

Flaxseed Might Help Fight Sweet-Itch |
showjumperachel likes this.
    08-16-2013, 03:44 AM
I was using 3 tablespoons of flax on every grain feeding (once per day). He got a "pour" of the oil every feeding too. I know it's not very accurate, but he DID have the softest coat of any horse there(granted there aren't that many horses), so that had to count for at least something....

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