Let me begin by saying I am located in SW Florida (near Fort Myers), and I have 3 horses.
One of them is a 14 year old Arab mare. She has been here about 5 years.
Approximately 2 years ago she began scratching herself against trees, the ground etc. She scratched off most of her mane in the beginning and ultimately opened up large sores on her neck, near her ears and on her belly. Our vet said it was an allergy to the saliva of what we call 'no see-ems' and prescribed DEX as a solution. We tried that for over a year with little results. In fact we have tried EVERYTHING - medicated baths, fly spray, keeping her in the barn at dusk and dawn, vinegar, even athlete's foot powder...all with very limited and short term success.
Finally I sought the advise of another vet for a second opinion. I figured there must be something we can do to offer her some relief. He agreed with the diagnose and prescribed vetalog shots every 3 weeks.
This, together with massive doses of omega 3 and spirulina has offered her some relief, but it only lasts about 1 1/2 weeks after the shot. In fact by the day before the next shot, she is back to scratching quite aggressively.
The vet (2nd) said the only real solution is to ship her up north or to put her down. Obviously neither of these is an option to us.
Does anyone have any other ideas on what can be done to help this poor horse. I am still not really sure the bug answer is correct, because we had a spell down here of several days where the temp was in the 30's and never above 50 and still she scratched. (I am pretty sure at that temp there are no bugs around...so what else could it be?)
All ideas would be appreciated. She is a good sport about this whole thing but I imagine it must be maddening to itch constantly. The other two do not itch at all.