Itchy horses

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15 Sep 2009 17:31
my horse is always itchy on his body, under his belly and between his two front leg are the itchest. Please can someone help me its not sweet itch, it started in the winter and its now september time ,the vet has looked at him gave him a injection but that didn't help at all. For the last two weeks he was in his stables and didn't itch at all, then when i turned him out in the field he started ichying again!
Horse Hero Guru
15 Sep 2009 18:43
Hi Lucy

When the itching started was your horse in the stable or out in the field? Is he itchy all the time or just at certain times of the day? Does the weather affect his itchiness – is he better when it is hot and sunny or when it is cold, or rainy?

You say he was better when he was in the stable – was that just after the vet’s injection or was it because he was in the stable?

Has he always had this problem or is it only this year? Has he ever had anything like it before? Have you changed his feed? How old is he?

What is the skin like where he is itchy? Does he have any lumps before he starts scratching? Is the skin dry or greasy? Is there any sign of scurf? When he scratches, does he break the skin? If he does do the wounds ooze any liquid?

There are many causes for being itchy. The main ones are:

- biting insects which could be lice, midges or mange mites. Some of these live on your horse, others attack him when he is outside.

- allergy to pollen, grass seed or the food he is getting. Horses can be allergic to certain feeds and if you think this might be the case then put him on a hay/grass diet only for a week or so then reintroduce his other feeds, one at a time each week until you identify the culprit.

- bacterial or fungal infections. Some of these, like ringworm, can also affect humans, so be careful to wash your own hands after dealing with him.

Did the vet take any skin scrapes when he examined your horse. These are really the only way to find out if he has mites or lice or a bacterial or fungal infection. I imagine that the injection he gave was a steroid as that will combat the irritation in the short term. However I think that you need to ask for a skin scrape to find out more about what is causing the problem.
16 Sep 2009 19:54
he started itchy in the winter and he was out in the field,he is itchy most all the time,when i bring him in from the field he try's to itch on the walls and hes biting himself.the weather doesn't seem to make a difference.

no he had the injection winter time.
He was in hes stable about two weeks ago because he had ringworm on hes face and when he was in he didn't try and itch he's body at all, he is now back out in the field now as he got the all clear from the vet,he's been out nearly a week and he's itchy has started all over again he went out in the field saterday and i noticed he was itchying again by sunday.

he has never had this problem before, nope he's feed hasn't changed at all, and hes only 10 so not old.

where he is itchy's and biting at the skin it goes very scabey and its very sore between hes to front legs , he just bites away the hair and just keeps biting

The only skin scrapes they took from him was on hes face to check it was ringworm as he didn't really look like it just bald patches really

im just getting so angry seeing him so itching all the time im stuck really i just don't know what to do

he also has this stuff in hes feed that i got from the vet which is ment to stop him itchying so much , he has been on it 2 weeks and so far has not made a differnce

thank you horse hero hope to hear from you soon
17 Sep 2009 00:08
This sounds really awful, i had a mare with a sensitive skin, not sweet itch but she did rub her neck raw in places, as a native pony it was difficult to feed for immune system, i phoned the camrosa people and got the exact advice for her, which was to shampoo weekly in summer, it worked. I have just had an outbreak of itchiness and spots, again the special camrosa shampoo did the trick immediately, after using several others.
17 Sep 2009 19:31
thanks for writing joallan, do you know what the shampoo is called hope to hear from you soon
Horse Hero Guru
17 Sep 2009 20:15
Hi Lucy

Since your horse has had this problem for so long and since the vet has now seen him twice for itching (once last winter when he injected him and once a few weeks ago to diagnose ringworm) I think you really should ask him what he intends to do next to sort out the problem.

I would ask for a skin scrape and a full analysis of it then suitable treatment that is followed up to ensure that it works. If the vet is unwilling to do this then ask for a referral to a specialist vet who can help.

It seems stupid that your horse is still suffering and that although the vet has seen him twice he has done nothing that has helped your horse at all.

It is up to you to decide what is the appropriate thing to treat the skin with in the short term – some skin conditions respond to oily cream and others need to dry out. Of course no cream is going to solve an allergic reaction and until you know what the problem is you really don’t know what is the best way to treat it.

Good luck
22 Sep 2009 10:11
Itchy horse...

Hi there,

I know exactly how you feel! My horse has been itching for 3 yrs, he's pushed down walls, rubbed barks of trees smooth, and regularly makes the stable wall move.

The yard owner was getting worried as he was getting so stressed with it, he would rub until his skin would bleed. In the end people wouldn't even go near him as he would just push them over trying to relieve his itchy skin. I really was beside myself with worry over this.

I had all the usual skin tests, even did a ringworm wash knowing he didn't have it. Took him off all feed and just gave him hay, a different kind, then took that away and introduced Alfala. Changed his bedding, even changed his location! In the end I put him out 24hrs per day to see if this helped. Nada.

After all the lotions and potions failed I decided to give him something that I felt might alleviate the itching, as it does in sweetich cases, it did! I ground up 'flax seeds' in a coffee grinder, and gave him one cup per day, I started to see a difference in just a week. His coat was gleaming. I have this everyday for my psoriasis, it's like magic. The reason it helped him is the omega 3 and 6 oils which have a soothing effect/anti inflammatory effect on the skin, O3 and 6, a horse doesn't manufacture himself.

It helped to soothe the skin, but it was not getting to the root of the problem. Then I saw an advert for a fly spray that claims to be effective for 14 days - and guaranteed that not one midge or fly would come near the horse.

I thought to myself, yea I don't think so. Well it's the best fly spray every, It really does work for a very long time, I put it on every day though to make sure, but it is definitely effective for a week. I'm in a yard that is particulary plagued with flies, my horse is the only horse that is totally fly free!! The other owners all use various fly sprays, some expensive, but they only work for a couple of hours, they all still have flies on them.

After I kept all the midges, flies and whatever lands on a horse that we don't see or know about away from him, the itching went. The vet then confirmed it was an allergy to fly bites. It doesn't take many bites to start the itching off again, just a couple could do it.

The fly spray is called TRITEC 14, it comes from the USA, it is expensive, I do not live in the UK so I pay 42 euros for it.

But you only get what you pay for. It worked out much cheaper than all the vet visits and all the creams I was buying to put on his wounds from scratching.

Oh, by the way, it's perfectly safe to feed ground flax (linseed) to a horse, it does not have to be boiled first, that's only for ruminants, animals with two stomachs. They don't have the level of acid in thier stomachs to destroy the enzyme that can be toxic in linseed - that's why we can eat it. It has to be ground otherwise it will pass through the horse whole.

I and my friends have fed it for years, it's great for their skin and coat and helps to keep weight on. It has many many other benefits, too many to list.

Hope this helps. Read about TRITEC on their web site.

23 Sep 2009 21:04
My understanding re boiling linseed is to remove poisonous substances, not sure about acidity in a ruminants stomach, but i know there are four stomach chambers in every cow .... rumen, reticulum, omasun, abomasum, camels have three (perhaps that's why they are so grumpy).
I would imagine linseed oil would serve the purpose, though other oils are also recommended.
Here is a quote from horse and hound re cyanide and linseed

"Preparing linseed: soak the raw seeds overnight and then boil vigorously for a few minutes to kill off the poison. Leave to simmer until a jelly forms and then leave to cool. Once cooled, feed immediately or it will turn rancid."
Oh by the way after doing all this my little pony refused to eat any of it!
25 Sep 2009 10:25

I do not wish to get into an indepth discussion re Linseed, but whoever quoted that in the H&H are just making sure they're covering their backside.

There are many proven scientific studies using horses of course which have proven that ground Linseed is perfectly safe to feed to horses, and of course humans, hence why all the health shops sell it. We have the same acidity as horses.

The idea of Linseed having to be boiled comes way back from the victorian days, when it was fed to cows and sheep and they consequently were sick from it. There were no scientific studies done then. There have been many carried out since.

This is a quote from a recent study carried out in Canada...
" There has been concern regarding the feeding of linseed to horses as there are components in it which can interact to release Cyanide. The usual advice has been to boil the linseed for a minimum of one hour to release the cyanide before feeding it. However it is NOW KNOWN that stomach acid in the horse and humans has the ability to totally 'inactivate' the enzymes which are required to form the cyanide, thus making the feeding of freshly ground linseed safe for horses. In the study the horse's biochemistry and haematology profiles remained within the normal physiological range throughout the experiment" end quote.

You will find that horse feeds contain ground Linseed too.

It is such a great thing to feed to horses, many horses are fed it in the country where I live. I can buy a kilo for just over a euro. I only grind up a weeks worth a time so it doesn't go off, and always keep in a sealed container preferable in the dark.



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