Summer/sweet itch HELP!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-21-2013, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Summer/sweet itch HELP!!

I have a filly and she has summer itch all over her legs and body. We've tried everything we can think of. Fans, fly sheets, shots, and Tri-Hist. The Tri-Hist stopped her from sweating though and with it being 90-100 degrees, that can't happen. I'm desperate for help for this filly!!
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 03:47 AM
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My mare gets sweet itch too. One thing that is absolutely amazing is MTG, or Mane Tail Groom. This is available in most tack stores, and runs usually about 18$ for a good-sized bottle. It's a sulphur mix, so I will warn you that you might smell a little funny after applying it. Put it on in the evening, so that she won't sweat it off and it can work during the night. I would also feed your horse some garlic. It's very good for her, and will help keep bugs away. Dice it up and put in in her grain if she gets any, or hide it in a treat, like diced apples or peanut butter. Use the MTG every evening, and you should start seeing results pretty quickly. If you don't, let me know and I'll type a list of other sweet itch meds I've used.
Just as a warning: I've dealt with only one horse that this has happened to, but it's a possibility. The MTG is somewhat oily, which may cause dirt to stick and make your filly itchier.
To apply the MTG just drip on the solution (make sure to really shake it first), and rub it in. Don't worry if you have cuts or such on your hands, it'll help you out too.

Last edited by dancingsunshine; 07-23-2013 at 03:48 AM. Reason: typo
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 07:20 AM
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Always wash her down with tea tree oil shampoo in the affected area when you can. This will stop her itching so much and making it worse! You can get lots of ointments etc. over here I use Avon skin so soft - which is a human moisturiser - on my sweet itch mare and it's been proven to help loads! I swear by it! Hope you find something to help!
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 10:46 AM
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Onchocerciasis |

Got midges or small biting flies? I have one that was loaded with what looked like sweet itch every year. Once I started treating her for NTW it is almost gone. She still gets itchy and hates flies but now at least she isn't bald.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by SueNH View Post
Onchocerciasis |

Got midges or small biting flies? I have one that was loaded with what looked like sweet itch every year. Once I started treating her for NTW it is almost gone. She still gets itchy and hates flies but now at least she isn't bald.
Pretty much that ^^^ BUT when you say "filly" how young are we talking? She may be too young to put two tubes of Ivermectin in her

With great respect to the folks who use MTG in this sort of situation, I have read of others having to call the vet because the horse had a reaction to MTG. It is sulphur-based and if the horse has open seeping sores, MTG is not the stuff to use.

The filly's main issue is that she has a poor immune system. It doesn't matter how perfect you are feeding her, how consistent you worm and get her vaccinated, she has a poor immune system and is having severe allergic reaction to Midge Fly bites.

I could suggest mixing Vitamin A in her feed pan BUT again, how young is she?

The Rule of Thumb that folks swear works is 5 CC of injectable cattle Vitamin A, once a week for two weeks, three weeks maximum BUT AGAIN, that is for mature horses.

Topical things that might work, along with keeping a mesh sheet on her:

Order some MalAcetic. It is an all-natural shampoo, created by a vet.
Dechra MalAcetic Shampoo for Dogs and Cats (ONE GALLON)

Yes, it's very expensive BUT a little bit of this shampoo goes a long way.

The other thing you might try to calm her skin down is to shampoo her with Dawn Dish soap.

I use Dawn Dish Soap on one horse on his back for rain rot and on all the horses' legs to get the Dallis grass sap off them. They all seem to find it soothing, plus if it's good enough to clean baby ducks after an oil spill, it's good enough to wash my horses skin issues.

Feeding some Magnesium oxide might also help her immune system but it will take some time for that to work thru her system. Again, her age would dictate the amount.

Not a whole lot of help, I'm afraid; mostly because I don't know which end of the age scale "filly" means in this case. If she's closer to maturity than not, I would go full bore with one of the oral supplements.

I'm still not sure I'd double dose her with wormer unless she is rock solid healthy except for this Sweet Itch
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 11:28 AM
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My vet told me that NTW are almost never seen in horses less than 3 years old, so if the filly is 3 or less it is more than likely sweet itch (allergic reaction to gnat bites) and to adjust the horses schedule around the gnats, which are out during the day (mostly around dawn and dusk) and to keep a fly sheet on, preferably with a belly band. Swat the areas that are still exposed, and if needed add antihistamines. Also, NTW's are more confined to the southern climates, so depending on your location, and the horses age, that is still something to look into...

Some things that repel gnats are 50/50 mixture of original Listerine (can use generic brand) sprayed on like fly spray
dryer sheets on halter/tack
the sulfur of MTG works more for ticks than gnats, but I think the gnats don't like the oily stuff.

I have had the best luck doing night turn out because of bugs, mostly the horse/deer flies, but the gnats are horrible this year too. These day bugs don't like to come into dark barns during the day.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 11:46 AM
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The sort of bugs that cause sweet itch (as we call it in the UK) are mostly about early in the morning and in the evening/dusk as are Mozzies so stabling during these times of day helps a lot
If Ivermectin is having an effect then the problem could also be caused by mites that have migrated from birds nests, rodents etc. & live in barns, hedgerows & scrub They are so tiny you easily miss them
The lighter weight mosquito nets and leg boots might help as not as heating as the usual type
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 12:12 PM
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Part of the life cycle of the neck thread worms is carried by the midges. Horse gets bit and gets infected. The ivermectin only kills the larval stage but not the adults. Big, long post on it on the COTH board. Can't link directly to it but it comes up readily enough on a search.

Sweet Itch |
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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She's 2. Before I got her she was never dewormed. I read about the threadworms, and thought is give it a try. Hers isn't all over. Only her neck chest and forearms. Everywhere else is clean. I just heard about the threadworms a couple of days ago. Right now I am away from home, and somebody else is feeding. She is very healthy besides the sweet itch. No other problems. The Tri-Hist did cause some temporary anhidrosis but she's fine now. I've tried bathing her as well with quite a few different shampoos. I try to keep her in at dusk/dawn with a fan on her. She's not clearing up much though. I want to stay away from steroids as much as possible.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-23-2013, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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I'm located I'm Alabama, too. So I'm definitely around the NTW.
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