Help is on hand to prevent sweet itch from ruining your horse’s skin.

It’s a little difficult to imagine a clear, calm, summer’s day right now, but the evenings are getting lighter minute by minute and the warm dry days are inching closer too. Although safe from midges whilst it’s wild and windy out there, it won’t be long before conditions are perfect for them to make an appearance en mass.

With midges comes the seasonal scratch and soreness associated with sweet itch. Sweet itch is an allergic reaction to midge saliva causing skin hypersensitivity in horses. For some horse owners it means treating a little itchy, flaky skin; for others, it is a full-blown battle to prevent horses from rubbing themselves raw and leaving longer lasting damage.

Preparation and prevention are by far the best ways to approach sweet itch sensitivity this summer, there are a range of excellent sweet itch products for horses to help alleviate the symptoms caused by biting midges.
Spotting the signs and symptoms of sweet itch early and having a stash of specially formulated, natural sweet itch products for horses on standby can make all the difference in terms of effective management and preventing midges from driving your horse to despair.

How to spot the signs of sweet itch

Here are the tell-tale signs you should keep a look out for as the weather begins to warm over the coming weeks. Initially, you may find your horse begins to itch more. The itching is usually worse around the neck, mane and tail, but it can affect any area midges have access to. Finding that the itching brings momentary relief, the horse will continue to itch the same area over and over. Before we know it, they will have rubbed away the hair, and made the skin sore.

Without prompt treatment the skin may thicken, and wounds may get infected. Thankfully, over recent years more sweet itch products for horses have become readily available and, most importantly, they harness the healing power of nature to help soothe and calm sensitive skin.

As well as using sweet itch products for horses, here are a few simple steps you can take to alleviate the source of the problem:

eco friendly horse bedding straw

• Try to keep horses and ponies away from standing water and damp areas where midges will naturally tend to congregate.

• Midges are most active at dawn and dusk, so it’s a good idea to stable sensitive horses around an hour before dusk and hold off putting them back out until after sunrise in the morning. Although this will reduce exposure to midges, it is also essential to keep on top of stable hygiene to prevent the stable also becoming a haven for midges.

• Breathable sweet itch rugs have a fine mesh which can help prevent midges from being able to get close enough to the skin to cause trouble.

• Fend off the flies and midges from inside out by feeding supplements such as garlic which has a multitude of health benefits and is well known for its ability to deter flies as it is secreted through the skin.

• Fly repellent sprays and creams are also useful for making your horse less appetising to these winged critters.

Products that are suitable for seasonal irritants such as sweet itch

There will be times when, despite our very best efforts, the bugs will bite and bring misery to our horses. It is important to stock up on sweet itch products for horses, such as: soothing shampoos and topical creams to help take away the irritating itch and soothe the soreness associated with a sweet itch flare-up. Breaking the itching cycle is essential in giving the skin time to heal and allow the hair to re-grow.

Neem Wonder Wax is an ideal choice for irritated sensitive skin as it naturally repels a range of biting bugs (such as midges and mites) and contains vitamin E which is essential for encouraging healthy skin growth. Applied by simply warming a small amount in your hands, this product is ideal for gently stroking onto the sore and irritated areas without too much fuss. Its anti- fungal and anti-bacterial properties are perfect for helping prevent secondary problems associated with itching, such as infections. The wax base offers additional protection, by providing a barrier to help prevent bacteria and dirt from slowing the healing process.

Neem Wonder Wax
Equi allergy liquid

We can also highly recommend Equi-Allergy Liquid, it’s fast acting and utilises four natural ingredients with both anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve seasonal itchiness. Huang Qin is a natural inhibitor of histamine which is accountable for the irritating itch associated with an allergic reaction. In addition, Huang Qin is also an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

Other ingredients in Equine-Allergy liquid include Ginkgo and Eyebright which also serve as anti-inflammatories, and Nettle is proven to sooth and calm irritations.

With show season just around the corner, the last thing we want is sweet itch spoiling the fun. By having a supply of sweet itch products for horses on hand, you know you’ll be ready to stop the itch before it irritates areas where your tack would sit. When out and about it is essential for our horses to look and feel great so they can enjoy the experience as much as we do.

Aloe Vera and Manuka Honey Topical Gel is handy to have on the yard and in the lorry whilst you’re out for the day. It is ideal for soothing hot spots and its easy-to-apply formula means it can be rubbed on with very little fuss. The wonderful healing properties of both Manuka honey and Aloe Vera need no introduction; they have been stalwarts in the world of natural medicine dating back many thousands of years. Not only renowned for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial healing properties, Manuka honey also reduces
scarring and encourages hair re-growth helping your horse recover a little more quickly and lessen the likelihood of permanent damage.

sweet itch products for horses