Itchy horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Itchy horse

My horse Ali Oops is 28 year old Arabian gelding who is super itchy. It’s starting to drive me crazy! He will rub his neck on a fence post for 10 minutes if not more. He has small cuts on his hips, shoulders and around his tail. He also has large bald spot on his belly.

He has always had dry flaky skin and he has never itched himself like this before. I’ve treated him in the past just by bathing him and grooming him often. Nothing seems to help it this time.

I have now tried giving him a bath with a soothing shampoo and diluted conditioner in a bucket of water and sponged it all over him. I rinsed him off real good and then applied mtg to his mane and tail since those seemed to be the main spots he was rubbing. And before I turned him out I covered him in fly spray. Well it didn’t work 5 minutes of being out and he was already rubbing his neck on a fence post.

I know people will ask so I will tell you what he eats. He has really bad teeth so hay is not apart of his diet since he can’t chew it. He is feed about 5 pounds of lmf senior with msm and a 1/2 pound calf manna. He also gets 4 pounds soaked alfalfa cubes. Along with that he has a horslic bucket in his stall and salt. He is stalled at night and is on pasture during the day.

Please help me stop the itching, it’s driving me and him crazy! I will try anything to make it stop.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 02:17 PM
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Please be cautious with MTG - many horses have bad reactions to it. Also, being that it's oil based, please do not apply it during the day or you risk sunburn.

Has he been appropriately dewormed recently? Some horses itch due to internal parasites.

Bathing too often dries skin out, but frequent currying is excellent for removing excess dander/dead skin cells. Healthy Haircare Moisturizer is my preferred spray treatment for general itchiness, and you can safely spray it on daily after grooming.

My allergic-to-everything gelding has been doing very well on the AniMed Histall H supplement. He's FAR less itchy than years past, when he'd frequently itch giant sores on various body parts. He also isn't welting up from bug bites like he used to.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 02:28 PM
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Equiderma has good products that can help with the itching. They have a shampoo and a skin lotion. Any shampoo with Neem is also good.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 02:30 PM
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When he pees does he drop well enough, or is he getting urine on his belly?

Has he been wormed recently? What type of wormer was used?

IME this is somewhat common, but can also be really tricky to find out the cause and you may need to try some stuff to see if it works. Is it urine scald, pinworms, neck thread worms, midges, the list could go on!

I personally would off the shampoos, sprays, and hair products until the itching stops.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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I was considering looking into a antihistamine supplement for him so I will definitely look for that one. I thought the mtg might work on him as I have used on other horses in the past and had success with them. The last time he was dewormed was in February.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-19-2019, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njoyray View Post
My horse Ali Oops is 28 year old Arabian gelding who is super itchy. Itís starting to drive me crazy! He will rub his neck on a fence post for 10 minutes if not more. He has small cuts on his hips, shoulders and around his tail. He also has large bald spot on his belly.

He has always had dry flaky skin and he has never itched himself like this before. Iíve treated him in the past just by bathing him and grooming him often. Nothing seems to help it this time.

I have now tried giving him a bath with a soothing shampoo and diluted conditioner in a bucket of water and sponged it all over him. I rinsed him off real good and then applied mtg to his mane and tail since those seemed to be the main spots he was rubbing. And before I turned him out I covered him in fly spray. Well it didnít work 5 minutes of being out and he was already rubbing his neck on a fence post.

I know people will ask so I will tell you what he eats. He has really bad teeth so hay is not apart of his diet since he canít chew it. He is feed about 5 pounds of lmf senior with msm and a 1/2 pound calf manna. He also gets 4 pounds soaked alfalfa cubes. Along with that he has a horslic bucket in his stall and salt. He is stalled at night and is on pasture during the day.

Please help me stop the itching, itís driving me and him crazy! I will try anything to make it stop.
He is 28 and he has "always had dry flaky skin---".

IMHO, his diet needs looked at -- from the feed pan to the hay he eats.

I have a horse that is soy & grain intolerant so I had to take him off anything that uses soy as a protein source and has grain in it.

He also has environmental allergies and will get big dandruff flakes during the height of summer. I added 3,000 IU of pure (no selenium added) Vitamin E to his daily diet. Last year he didn't have any "flaky outbursts" and his mane grew long because he stopped itching his neck.

This year we have had horrible heat humidity, even worse than is normal for Middle Tennessee. still-in-all, his flaky outburst has been minimal.

I have only shampooed him a couple times this year. I have used MalAcetic on the horses and the dogs, for itch issues and have been happy with it for the last 15 years. It used to be prescription only but not any more.


This is my flaky skinned horse a several weeks ago. He is not sprayed with anything, not even fly spray. You would never know he has skin issues -- this horse had also just turned 25, so not much younger than your Arab:)

Start by examining and revamping your horse's diet.

image.jpg

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-19-2019, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njoyray View Post
I was considering looking into a antihistamine supplement for him so I will definitely look for that one. I thought the mtg might work on him as I have used on other horses in the past and had success with them. The last time he was dewormed was in February.
FWIW My vet recommended Zyrtec for my itchy horse, if you're looking at antihistimes. You could buy a big bottle of it, give him the appropriate amount (you dose by his weight, obviously. For my horse who weighs probably 700-800 pounds she said 100 mg per day) and see if it helps. When I asked about it here, I was told you can buy it in bulk, cheap, from Costco, and that you don't need a membership for that.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-19-2019, 08:43 AM
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Our border collies have allergic problems sometimes in the spring and will scratch themselves terrible. Our vet gives us Apaquell for them and the itching goes away in 24-48 hours. It works like a miracle. You might ask your vet if it is available for horses.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-19-2019, 03:17 PM
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I have a super-itchy horse in the summer. For him, the issue is bugs. Unfortunately, it keeps getting wetter around here, so they keep getting worse....


Anyway, first thing to address is diet. Try taking him off grains and soy. Mine is on a ration balancer, no other grains/feed. If someone tosses him a scoop of oats or sweet feed, he's itchier the next few days.


Consider adding flax. You can get whole flax and grind it yourself daily, or purchase stablized flax that won't go rancid. I get mine from HorseTech.


If you think insects are part of the problem, arm yourself with anything that may help--- mine does significantly better on Buggzo feed supplement than any of the rest. It does help some.



We also experimented heavily with different sprays/potions until you find the one that works in your area for your horse, and it varies. For me, that's the Pyrahna fly spray in the yellow bottle. Nothing else works for more than a few minutes. My guy is thoroughly sprayed twice a day. I go through about $20 of spray a week, but it's the only thing that gets him a few hours' relief from the biting insects.
A fan the horse can stand ahead of/under will help keep him cool and also deter bugs, particularly gnats and mosquitoes.


Fly mask and fly sheet -- due to trees and his itching, mine can't keep a fly sheet on, but I did find a fly mask that stays on (most of the time, anyway) and protects his eyes while he rubs and scratches.

A few things to try if you don't think it's all insect-related:

- bathe the horse thoroughly in Chlorhexidine solution. I put about 1/2 cup in the bottom of one of those things you put on the end of a hose and use for applying fertilizer to your lawn. Get every inch of the horse soaked, then let him air dry. Repeat once a week for two weeks, then once a month. You'd be surprised how much this helps alleviate itching in a lot of horses. Around here, random itchiness/rough skin is called 'the crud' and in spite of numerous people trying all sorts of treatments with multiple trips to the vet school, this works best and it's cheap. Some horses will need it spring through fall. Most will get over it if you're diligent to do the bath at least every 30 days until a freeze. A few will start up again in the spring, most will not. Whatever it is, this seems to help. I keep a solution of 2 Tb of Chlorhexidine to a quart of water in a spray bottle and spritz his itchiest spots and any raw areas daily, and it helps -- particularly on the legs and chest where he can rub raw spots.

- consider neck threadworms, particularly for itching in the neck/head/shoulders. Deworm with a double dose of Ivermectin, repeat in two weeks, then monthly until after a hard frost in the fall. If it's neck threadworms, the horse will get worse for a couple of days after the first dose as the micrfilarae die off, then he should find some relief.

- have your horse's blood drawn and nutritional levels checked. A horse low in vitamin E or selenium can have skin issues, but you don't want to supplement (particularly selenium) unless it's actually low. Vitamin E is often low in horses who do not have access to fresh, lush pasture. Overgraze pasture or hay is low, and supplementing E is usually rather safe. Still, if it's an ongoing issue, finding out vie bloodwork can help you narrow down your treatment plan rather than just taking shots in the dark hoping something works.
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Last edited by SilverMaple; 07-19-2019 at 03:22 PM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-23-2019, 01:26 PM
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Allergies??? Sweet itch???? Roley gets sweet itch really bad sometimes and he get dandruff Avon skin so soft might help. Trying to be helpful but probably failing lol.
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