Itching problem

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26 Sep 2010 20:07
Hi Beckaroo, just wondering if you managed to control Kenney's itching? I have two heavy feathered cobs who do suffer from from itchy legs they too had a shot of dectomax which did relieve the itching but hasn't cured it completely they suffer from mud fever too and one suffers from sweet itch, she has the same dandruff looking symptoms that you describe and she will scratch herself on anything she can find, she has broke fences and bent gates, i have tried everything practically on the market and one of the best things i have used to get rid of the dandruff is actually head and shoulders shampoo, it does work, however it is not a cure for sweet itch but it definately gets rid of the flakes of skin and eleviates some of the discomfort for my mare, p.s. i'm a hairdresser and i don't really recommend this product to my clients as it's a little astringent but brill for cobs
Horse Hero Guru
20 May 2010 21:49
Itchy horses are difficult to diagnose, particularly without actually seeing the condition, so really this is one for your vet to sort out, although you seem to be getting somewhat contradictory advice.

My first thought when you describe itching that has only just started is that the sweet itch season is starting, as the cullicoides midges are becoming active. However this is usually centred on the mane and tail, so is probably unlikely. The past history of possible rain scald does imply that the condition existed last year too, so may be seasonal, indicating a possible allergic condition

There are however 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.

You say you have just moved stables – has this involved a change in bedding (some horses react to barley straw or even the chemicals that were sprayed on the corn as it was grown) or feed? A mild allergic reaction makes the horse scratch and, as we all know, once you start scratching it just keeps getting worse!

I am surprised that your vet is unwilling to take a skin scrape – it may not always identify the cause of the problem, but should sort out whether your horse has mites or lice or a bacterial or fungal infection.

With regard to the drugs suggested by your vets, it seems that they are unsure of the cause and are covering all options!

Dectomax is, I believe, only licensed for use in cattle, and is used to treat their parasites both internal and external. It is also used on horses too and is effective against mites and lice. Of course, if your horse is rubbing his tail this is itself an indication that he may have worms.

Prednisolone is, as you say, a steroid, so is used to inflammatory or autoimmune conditions. It acts by suppressing the body’ inflammatory response to things that it might otherwise react to (steroids are used to help stop rejection following organ transplants). This means that using steroids will hopefully stop Kenny from reacting to whatever is making him itch. The downside is that Prednisolone does have side effects particularly in leading to an increased risk of laminitis.

It does appear that you have personally tried several treatments. Since the condition only appeared a few weeks ago you have probably been using more than one at a time, which means that you haven’t given any of them a chance to work.

As a general rule I would suggest that less is more with skin conditions. Keep the coat clean and avoid using strong chemicals as these will only irritate sensitive araes. Wash him with clean water and make sure that you groom him properly but gently with clean brushes.

I am sorry I cannot come up with a miracle cure or answer – although, if it were my horse I would go for the skin scrape!
20 May 2010 20:43
My filly had itchy hind legs, (probably mites which were endemic in the field she grazed), not severe, but my vet gave me a selenium based shampoo which worked immediately (leave on for 10 minutes then wash off). It was effective and relatively inexpensive. (£20)
My Welsh cob mare had a patch of very itchy skin on her neck, which did not did not fit with sweet itch, it started as a raised patch and she rubbed it raw, as soon as it re-appeared the following year I got advice from Camrosa, to shampoo with special shampoo daily, wash off and treat with ointment this worked almost immediately.
I would always use the least aggressive treatment possible and since the itchy is all over, i would try the shampoo and ointment first. (£20 to £40)
I would put her on shavings as straw can cause reactions.
19 May 2010 23:14
Thank you for your quick reply :D.

Kenny is really itchy all over. His skin is producing lots of white flakes (kind of like really bad dandruff). He has lost a fair bit of hair from the under side of his dock were the skin became quite pussy, it was a yellow colour that dried in to thick scabs. His tail improved as soon as he had the first shot of Dectomax and is healing well now although it is itchy still and producing the white flakes similarly to his body but hair lose is minimal now. He has rubbed a lot of his main from scratching on any hard surfaces.

This is the first time he has ever had any itchy problems. He is fourteen and has a lot of feather which is why we think it could be mange mites.

He moved yards in April so he has had a big change recently which could be a possible trigger and is being stabled again for the first time in about a year. He has been stabled the four year previous to that. For the last year he has been on loan and when he was returned to his owner he came back with, what was thought to be Rain Scald. (I have since taken him on loan and I used to have him before he was out on loan but had to give him up while finishing uni). The rain scald held well after a bit of TLC but he was never medicated anything just plenty of sudocrem. I am not sure though if this could have been miss diagnosed as I wasn’t with him at the time.

I have been keeping Kenny in a lot of the time because he is managing to break a lot of fences itching on them and he has always preferred being in than out especially when it is hot. Also the irritation of the flies makes him more stressed. He is stabled on straw and is fed Spillers Happy Hoof. I have stopped riding him since the problem has got worse because I do not think it would be very comfortable for him and could put us both in danger.

The vet is reluctant to take a skin scrap because of it being hit and miss weather we will get results from it, but will do if I want him to as I have asked that we think about doing one. What would be your view on this?

Since posting last night I decided after speaking to my vet this morning that I did want to give the Dectomax another go because after more research it seems that we may have left it too long between each jab. The first vet from our practice who was actually out TB testing our cattle said to do it two to three weeks later, but our usual vet advices tens day. Are usual vet is not convinced however that is mange mites and would still like me to try the Prednisolone, which I am very concerned with using.

Every time he has had a shot of Dectomax he has been relieved of his itching and his skin has began to heal well. Around ten to twelve days after each he has started to itch again just the same as before so I do think that it is effective and killing whatever is there and then the eggs that have been laid have had chance to hatch and the itch starts. I intend to reinjected him in ten days after today’s shot of 14ml.
The itching started to effect him badly about a week after he arrived with us. Before we moved him I spent a week with him at his owners home and there he was ok but on reflection he was itching more than normal but not nearly as badly as he has been. I am going to try and contact the lady who had him on loan as do not know how long he had the “rain scald” for before she sent him back to his owner’s yard.

Thank you for your time. I really have gone on and on and on but I just want the best for my boy. That is the main reason for me injecting him today, to relief him of the constant itch. It is very unpleasant. Again any help you can give would be great and Kenny would be very pleased too!!! xXx
Horse Hero Guru
19 May 2010 09:20
I will get back to you on this Becka - I am waiting for some technical help on the drugs.

In the meantime, is your horse itchy all over or just in some areas?
Is this the first time your horse has been like this or does it happen regularly?
Have you changed feed, stable routine or anything else recently?
Did your vet take skin scrapes or similar before treating your pony?
18 May 2010 23:15

My little Fell pony has become really itchy and so far has had two shots of Dectomax which were around 20 days apart which we hoped would the tick. The itch had all gone a day after his first shot but around twelve days after he became as itchy if not worse. The same thing has happened after the second and now the vet would like to try him on Prednisolone over the summer.

I can't help but worry that this would just cover over the problem. He is 14 and has been as hardy and unproblematic health wise all his life so I am struggling to believe it is a seasonal thing.

I also know that use of steroids has been linked to Lami and with him being a typical fell pony it is a big worry for me. Just wanting a bit of advice and as many people’s opinions as possible but a decision needs to be made by myself shortly because nothing is working for him at the moment. I have tried a lot of the tradional topical treatments such as Sulphur mixtures, Louse Powder, Tea Tree baths, Benzyl Benzoate.

Any help would be great. Love Becka xXx


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