2 year old with sweet-itch - bug rug ideas

DuckToller

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Rather sad to find my 2 yr old gelding has seasonal dermatitis. I had hoped it was pin worm last year when he started rubbing his tail away, but he has started rubbing both his tail and his mane this year (and of course he was thoroughly wormed for pin worm too).

We are quite near woods and with all this wet weather we have lots of midges and it's driving him mad. Mine are all still in at night but even now he is swishing his tail and kicking at his sheath.

Not keen on rugs for youngsters - anyone else had dealings with an itchy youngster? He is out with fairly sensible older geldings plus his dam and a young cob playmate, there's not much play fighting as cob is lazy and the older geldings like to play 'giraffe-neck' with him but not much else, so i was thinking of a fairly short body rug, or even a boett type but not sure about getting it over his head - I guess he will get used to it though and he isn't huge (15hh at most).

So ideas/experiences?
 

ElleSkywalker

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My little man got sweet itch aged 1 :( I've found the rambo sweet itch hoody the best rug for him, he also has the under sheet that makes it waterproof which is great from this time of year.

I've also found nettex itch stop salve to be very good. Either put it on before he gets bitten in the usual places or on sore bits. It forms a nice thick barrier meaning midges can't bite anymore and also helps hair grow back quickly. It's a life saver! My little lad is currently rug free with just this on and he's still not itching where as last year he was rugged up mid march :D
 

Wheels

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One of mine got it at that age and I rugged him with a boett at first but he really did start to freak out with it going over his head so I switched to a Rambo sweet itch hoody and that worked well for us
 

DuckToller

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Thank you - two votes for a rambo sweet itch hoody - off to find one now! I did wonder about the boett freaking him out so will start with a normal rug. So horrid for him - has anyone's 'grown out of it' by any chance?
 

Jo1987

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Benzyl benzoate is a life saver for my lad, no rug needed as long as he's kept reasonably clean and BB applied every few days, I do have to hog him though.
 

gonebananas

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My old pony had SI. I found the best rug was the premier equine rug and best products I ever found were ones called bite back. Tried an assortment of supplements but turned out she did better when I didn't bother with them and prevention is better than the cure. Might not work for everyone but I made sure her diet contained minimum sugar and cereals as apparently these have been found to provoke or effect the immune system in some way.
Also there's a support group on fb for sweet itch which has loads of people with experience and ideas

ETA sorry for the long post that went slightly off topic of your original question
 

ElleSkywalker

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Thank you - two votes for a rambo sweet itch hoody - off to find one now! I did wonder about the boett freaking him out so will start with a normal rug. So horrid for him - has anyone's 'grown out of it' by any chance?

I am hoping, but I don't think it's likely. This will be the third summer after he first showed signs and I think I just manage it better now. The first year he had it it didn't show till July so we are still a bit early in the year to see if it's any better this year.
 

DD

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my youngster was started with a Rambo SI hoodie at 2 and now has SI hoodies and Boetts [hes now 6]. I also use Nettex SI salve which is great any good fly repellent with deet or proven fly killer when hacking out. I am going to get him a Shires sI rug next when one needs rep[lacing as they are so much cheaper than the others and are of god quality. my horse also has piriton prescribed by the vet which helps enormously. see your vet about this and dose. the condition is manageable the horse gets used to being rugged and is ok about it. I used to dispare but not anymore.
 

_HP_

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They wont grow out of it but you will hopefully find a way to manage it.
The best way ime is to rug early rather than wait for the Itch to start. If he is already itching then it will take a week or two, once you get the rug on, for the itch to die down.
Another vote for the Rambo but a good, cheaper alternative, and just as good (if not better) is the Premier Equine sweet itch buster. It's 1000 denier (like the Rambo), so it's tough and does a great job....but whatever rug you use, you will need to protect it from protruding objects and aggressive rubbing on certain things until the Itch has died down. Mutual grooming and play fighting should be fine....my Shetland hangs of my horses rug all the time.
I use Net Tex Itch Stop or Coopers Fly Repellent Plus on any areas the rug cannot cover ie face,ears, sheath/udders.
One thing you may consider is finding somewhere else to keep him...location is probably the most important factor in sweet Itch...my horse is suicidal in my paddock may home as it is stream bordered and very midgey and no amount of management will help him...but a mile up the valley he is very easily managed as above.
 

Nettle123

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I have two sweet itch sufferers, they have both had it for nearly 20 years. I used to have Boetts but they are just too expensive and easy to damage. The Rambo rugs are the ones that have proved best of all for us over the last few years. Last year however I bought a Shires rug and I really rate it. The belly wrap is especially good for my one boy. The nettex salve and electric fencing are essentials too as are fly hoods. I replace the mesh ears with home made ones from old boett rugs.
 

ElliePippa

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I use Rambo rugs, benzyl benzonate and some aloe vera gel if she's itchy. It used to really bother me, but now its just routine and lots of sensitive horses wear fly rugs all the time in summer any way. Key thing is making sure everything is electrically fenced as rubbing just exacerbates the itch.
 
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