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Sweet itch: fly blankets and other panaceas.
Sweet itch is a very annoying illness. Your horse gets crazy about the itchy and beside, everyone is dreaming of a horse with beautiful, thick manes. Luckily there are a lot of ways to help a horse with sweet itch, for example with a fly blanket, sweet itch blanket or medicines.
The emergence of sweet itch in a horse
Sweet itch is an allergy that can arise all of a sudden. Even older horses which never had problems before, can get the allergy. The cause of sweet itch is a combination of hereditary condition, reduced resistance and the increased number of mosquitoes by the changed ecological conditions (like disappearing of bird species that eat mosquitoes)
Eventhough feeding can affect sweet itch, it is important to keep in mind that sweet itch complaints only can be caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva of a certain mosquite (colloïdes).A horse that is over sensitive or the saliva of these culicoïdes mosquito will get itch, especially at the manes and base of the tail. The horse will scrape and the disease gets worse: the manes disappear and wounds can develop. Therefore, it is important to prevent that those mosquitos can stab your horse. For example by using a fly blanket or a sweet itch blanket.
Sweet itch blanket or fly blanket: necessary measures
Often it is impossible to control the sweet itch by only using the internal approach. The best remedy for this illness is to avoid all contact with the culprits. A combination of windless summerdays with wet meadows or meadows along the forest edge are the worst. Leave on those days or locations your horse (if possible) during the day in the stable and at night in the meadow and avoid the dusk.
Even though a sweet itch blanket is not that charming, it covers the whole body effectively. These blankets work often better than normal fly blankets. Treat the manes, tail and blanket with insect repellent spray or gel. The most effective recourses are only available via a veterinarian. For horses that are very allergic, those measures will not suffice. In that case there is another step, medicines.
Medicines against sweet itch
Medicine against sweet itch do exist, for example Corticoid via injection or feeding. However this medicine does have some side effects like an increased risk on laminitis. The decision will depend on the severity of the symptoms and if you are willing to use that kind of medicine.
Sweet itch and feeding
You can also influence the degree of itching via feeding ratio. Provide a sober diet with minimal sugar and starch. A sport horse with high energy consumption will be able to receive more, but keep an eye on this. Chose for a feed with more fat for example. Feeding hay instead of dried roughage can also make a difference. By serious eczema’s can it be wise to keep them in a sand paddock or sand meadow with hay to substitute grass.
If you do not feed your horse concentrated feed, Pavo Vital, possibly combined with Pavo DailyPlus, is a good alternative to provide your horse with sufficient vitamins and minerals.
When you have a sport horse with sweet itch, try to choose products with a low sugar- and starch content. Pavo Speedibeet, which only contains one resource, is a good addition to the ratio. It is not only very healthy for the intestines, it also contains a lot of energy out of fibres, and the sugar content is only 5% (no starch at all). Also Pavo TopSport or Pavo Ease&Excel can also serve as a good energy completion.
Keep looking for the best measures against sweet itch.
The measures, like the sweet itch blanket and fly blanket, which prevent mosquitos getting close to your horse, make the biggest difference. Therefore it is important to keep looking for creative solutions to suppress this illness.