FLIES!!

ginatina

Active Member
Joined
13 September 2018
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42
I recently bought a young horse who is proving to suffer from sweet itch, poor boy

he only goes out at night, and wears a fly rug, but the midges at dusk/dawn are getting to him. I can’t get up at 4am every day to get him in like I did today!

Can anyone recommend the best fly spray or cream specifically for midges?

Are their any barrier type creams to put on the sheath area especially, where the midges love to feast?

also does anyone know of medicines you can give to reduce the horsereaction to bites - do antihistamines work?

any advice or ideas appreciated!

thank you :)
 

Jellymoon

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Joined
17 August 2008
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500
I use the Nettex cream and find it absolutely brilliant. I think it’s called summer freedom, but it’s the one specifically for sweet itch. It’s expensive but you don’t have to reapply every day, says once a week but I do it more often because he’s ridden almost every day and therefore getting sweaty and washed off. My horse rubs his head even more in a mask, so I don’t use one, just slather his face in the cream and he’s fine. He wears a very light fly rug and lives out 24/7 with use of field shelter. I found if I brought him in during the day, he’d rub even more all over the stable.
 

Jellymoon

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Joined
17 August 2008
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500
Oh and yes, I put it all over the sheath area, under the belly, and on his face.‘I also rub a bit in his ears as we get those blood sucker ear flies thingies. It’s totally got rid of those. And horse flies don’t like it much either, so he’s not got the lumps from them now.
 

TGM

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3 April 2003
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15,959
Location
South East
The Neem wax from www.eqwax.co.uk is brilliant for repelling midges and not expensive either. You can brush, sponge or wipe it on and is perfect for applying to sheaths. Because it is a soft wax it doesn't evaporate quickly like sprays so lasts much longer.
 

Quigleyandme

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8 March 2018
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1,252
Location
County Sligo
I use a pour on solution called SWITCH once a week and have Lincoln Itchy Switchy Summer SOS cream on hand for any spot treatment needed. I do find my itchy horse benefits from a weekly mane and tail wash too or he gets very scurfy which I think contributes to the itch/scratch cycle. A Sweetitch rug with a hood and belly cover is a great investment for your horse during milder weather than we are having now.
 

Griffin

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16 September 2012
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1,339
I have found TurmerItch has really helped mine this year. I feed a scoop of TurmerItch and a scoop of brewers yeast every day and it has hugely reduced my mare's itching (she has mild sweet itch). I don't use rugs or a mask because she is a rug destroyer!

I use Red Horse Sweet Oil on her mane and tail, which seems to help and if she does get bitten, their Honey Heal cream is really good.
 

Archangel

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Joined
14 January 2008
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8,187
The mare I have on loan has sweet itch and it has been trial and error to get her right, but this year she is doing so well on...

Mane and tail wash once a week.
Then every day without fail (before the midges get out)
Mane and tail brushed through with Naf silky mane and tail
Equimins biting midge cream applied liberally along where the mane parts and reveals skin. All along her tummy and up between her back legs and down the inside of her back legs. For her tail, lift the hair and apply to the skin.
Finally - spray with Naf citronella spray all along her mane and back, all over her tail, in between her front legs and up between her back legs.

This seems to last until the following evening with a top up fly spray in the morning if needed. I get the midge cream on even if it is raining.
 

Frumpoon

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Joined
7 May 2011
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1,929
I use the Nettex cream and find it absolutely brilliant. I think it’s called summer freedom, but it’s the one specifically for sweet itch. It’s expensive but you don’t have to reapply every day, says once a week but I do it more often because he’s ridden almost every day and therefore getting sweaty and washed off. My horse rubs his head even more in a mask, so I don’t use one, just slather his face in the cream and he’s fine. He wears a very light fly rug and lives out 24/7 with use of field shelter. I found if I brought him in during the day, he’d rub even more all over the stable.
Does it work for normal black flies as well?
 

Chianti

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20 February 2008
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479
I'm four years into managing a sweet itch pony and I'm afraid my biggest learning point has been that what works miracles for someone else will do nothing for your own horse. I've just binned quite a few pots and bottles of lotions and potions that I've tried - on recommendation - that had very little impact. You just have to try something and hope it will help. I think the most important thing is to use good sweet itch rugs and fly masks and to keep these clean. You'll find that every year is different because the weather conditions will be different. This year seems to be bad for sufferers because it's been so wet. Mine seems to do better in hot, dry summers. There are a couple of groups on Facebook that would be useful for you to join. The good news is that in a couple of months things will start to get better!
 
Joined
18 July 2021
Messages
10
Lots of flying biters this far South. We use citronella oil mixed with Dettol alongside masks and fly sheets. I spray this on as my 'yard perfume' :p You can machine wash the rugs and masks in the same mixture (no perfumed detergent as this attracts more biters). I also use a scratch-mitt daily and you can see the horses relief as they are rid of scurf and itches. I regularly use a Lavender shampoo when they are staying in, but always test patch products with essential oils as they can cause skin reactions. Keeping sheaths clean is also really important as flies love the smell of crusty horse-crotch. I feed raw garlic too, or garlic paste.
 

Chappie

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Joined
11 January 2018
Messages
407
The Shires Highlander sweet itch rugs are working well this year for the sufferers on our yard, along with Lincoln Ditch the Itch spray, Nettex Summer Freedom and Battles fly cream.
 

Leam_Carrie

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15 August 2012
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858
Location
Leamington Spa
For next year, there is an injection for sweet itch which some find helps - ask your vets. It gets given at the start of the season. Was just starting to be brought over when I had a horse with mild sweet itch a few years ago.

Sweet itch rugs help - Boett is meant to be the best. We had a range. Had to vary them to help with any rubbing.

Weekly main and tail washing really helped. I’d use a mild nit shampoo, which had citronella.

I also used to use biteback products >
bitebackproducts.co.uk/sweet-relief-cream.

The ideal is finding a windy hillside away from water to reduce midge numbers. Otherwise the best fly spray you can find. Currently I use Deosect, which seems good. Would have considered fly pour.

There are lots of Facebook groups for help and advise. Also have a chat with your vet as I think there is an allergy test to confirm it is sweet itch.

It’s a bit trial and error to find the management that works for your horse.
 

Willowbankstables

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25 July 2021
Messages
54
I'm in a group on FB called Sweet Itch Support and there's loads of good advice on there. Some tips I have tried with my mare (mild sufferer) include Red Bush (Rooibos) tea in feed, menthol products on mane/ tail e.g. Vicks vapour rub/ washing in Olbas bath and the clip-on belly covers you can buy on Ebay; I think it's a lady that makes them herself but mine has been a Godsend this summer and her tummy is much better than usual. It covers more area than a standard fly rug belly cover. Also, some people on the group seem to advise against feeding garlic, but I'm not sure what the reasons are for this. Mine both still get garlic as it helps with their breathing.

I've also found the tips on this thread useful! I've already got 'Ditch the Itch' spray, but I'm going to try the Battles summer fly cream and the Nettex Freedom stuff as well :)
 
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