What is my horse allergic to?
I have a three year old Missouri Foxtrotter, and she has been having skin problems for a year. Her ears are constantly scabby, and she recently started itching the base of her tail. I live in Florida, so the bugs here are a problem. But even with a fly mask, garlic, and fly spray she keeps itching. Now that it is winter, I am thinking that it is her grain that has has been bothering her. I am feeding her Safe Choice. 14% pellet, I try to stay away from extra sugars. It has wheat and corn in it; which I heard is the number one thing horses are allergic to. If you have any ideas of what this could be, please let me know!:-)
Unless you're feeding Safe Choice Special Care, you're still feeding a bunch of sugar. Better would be a ration balancer, Empower Balance, if you want to stick to Nutrena. Your horse might be lacking certain vitamins/minerals. The ration balancer supplies that. You can also feed flax seed, ground fresh, or any of the omega fatty acids products( I swear by Omega Horseshine), it helps with skin issues and makes them really shiny, too.
To find out what your horse actually is allergic to, you can do tests or start eliminating feeds, to see if there's a difference. She also might be allergic to components of the fly spray, and I found garlic doesn't really do anything either.
You sure it isn't sweet itch?..
A friend of mine's Mare would get it real bad, from Florida.. Not only did she rub her tail, and mane, but her ears would be scabby as well.
Holistic approach. So to speak. When the first Icelandic horses were imported to Germany, more than half of them would get it. Took a long time to figure out why. First, Iceland has no gnats. Gnats bite, their saliva causes the itch. BUT..not all horses scratch themselves bloody....only the easy keeper type, ponies, Arabs, andalusians, some drafts....breeds who's origin is places without lush grass, who don't need much to keep going.
So a rather meager diet, low protein, low sugar, will help. Zinc an copper might have to be supplemented. Keep the horse stalled when gnats are active, dawn and dusk. Avon Skin-so-Soft bath oil "original", wiped on crest and tail, keeps the gnats away, but has to be done every day. I had two Arab mares who had literally no mane and tail when they arrived. I used the Avon and provided a dark run-in shelter and a year after they had beautiful manes and tails. Flax seed helps with skin and hair, provides omega fatty acids.
Gnats are still around in 40 degree temperature, so there is the reason for your itchy horse.
Allergies to both wheat and corn aren't uncommon, especially with most corn being GMO corn :( If you supplement with something like grass or alfalfa pellets and mix with some soaked beet pulp, or feed rolled oats as a couple of suggestions? Another idea is a vitamin/mineral supplement to add.
If you're giving garlic, you have to be careful how you feed it, and not feed it daily because it's an antibiotic and will throw off the horse's natural pH real quick. What I would suggest is to give the garlic for 2-3 weeks and then stop for 2-3 weeks, and to add a probiotic too.
Garlic also causes anemia in horses: Feeding Garlic to Horses
Try bathing her in apple cider vinegar. Put 1 cup apple cider vinegar to every gallon of warm water. After bathing her like normal, rinse her in the vinegar solution, then let her dry like normal. The vinegar helps the coat retain oils and repels flies/bugs. My old gelding and my friend's Arab gelding both had severe fly allergies and Dakota (my boy) would rub his mane and tail. An apple cider vinegar rinse once a week and they both stopped itching.
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