Is it ALWAYS sweetitch?

JillA

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My horse has all the signs, but doesn't normally begin to itch until June (just starting this year, but then it isn't really a normal year is it?).
The trial vaccine didn't really do him any good, Marmite had no effect as with most of the usual remedies. This year (unlike other years when I had left it rather too late) he has been wearing a really good rug since the end of March but just started to really rub his tail whenever I stand him in. The tail flap is generous and lined, so I don't see how midges can have got to his dock, but still he is itching.
Does anyone know if there is a definitive test? Or if it could be an allergy to something else, and how to find out. It is definitely seasonal which suggests an allergy, but nothing has really helped much so far, even the rug.
 

MagicMelon

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Im having the same dilemma with one of my horses - he's itching places he would normally never itch even with a Boett on for the first time since early March. Also been being fed Brewers Yeast etc. But I do think in this case, right now its more than just his usual sweet itch. I think it is an allergic reaction but to what I have no idea!!! I am currently awaiting a reply from the vets but Im sure they'll likely say its just sweet itch......

I believe there is no definate test which is why its so damn annoying because it leaves people like us possibly overlooking an allergic reaction to something else rather than SI.

To find out if its an allergy to something else, my vet has said in the past (same sort of situation) that all I can do is simply cut out everything (feed etc.) then slowly start reintroducing one thing at a time. But this would take ages! And its not easy, especially cutting out feed as my boy needs his especially during competition season just now. But I only feed him simple soaked oats and alfalfa (along with his supplements) in case it was a barley intolerence etc. Have you tried making his feed as simple as possible with basic ingredients (rather than a mix etc.)?

Its really terrible watching our horses itch so bad isnt it? My boy is taking huge patches of hair off the top of his neck.......
 

JillA

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Because it is so seasonal I don't really suspect feed (he is pretty much out anyway) - the only change is from haylage to grass, and I can't really keep him in 24/7 to cut out grass. His feed remains the same all year round, as do his supplements.
Maybe pollen - tree pollen is apprently early this year, but again, his skin is protected.
He almost sits on his hocks to scratch, he looks so distressed, I just wondered if vets could use a skin test similar to humans. A blood test would just show histamines I should imagine.
Any vets on here?
 

JillA

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And I have just emailed the Sweetitch centre to see if they know of a test, but in my experience they just want to sell you a boett
 

samp

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I think because we have had such a mild winter the midges have never really been killed off and are really biting. This is the first year I have had horrendous itchy bites from midges. I can see why it drives my horse and other sweet itch sufferes mad
 

clipertyplop

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no....i dont think it is always SI i have owned a horse for the last 4 years and he was sold to me as having SI, and have gone through countless rugs lotions potions ect, but i honestly think he has sensitive skin and i think when the midges start biting i think its the same as when we get bitten it itches like made and then the scratching starts and infection sets in. We just now feed garlic all year round and keep him stabbled during the worst times dawn and dusk and use johnsons pink baby lotion to take the sting off any bites he dont lose hair on tail or mane just to the back of the poll where he scatches with his back feet.field also ring fenced with electric fencing.
 

catherine22

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No, a horse at a yard I used to be at had rubbed himself raw even with a rug on all the time, it turned out to be photosensidsation so he had to be kept in in the day and turned out at night with LOADS of sunblock on and he was fine then.
I think they got him a fly rug to wear at night as well to block out any UV and that solved the problem.
Worth a thought?!
 

JillA

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catherineF what colour was he? I can imagine it being true of a grey (no pigment) but mine is very dark bay, almost black.
I'm also working on reducing his grass - I noticed a little cob on the yard who has got fat and had to go on reduced grazing hasn't been itching as much since- she wears a boett and normally rubs her stomach on the ground if she can't find anything else.
So I'm having his paddock grazed right down by a couple of the others and when it has been, he and the cob can have it, with haylage if they need it.
Watch this space - the grass is one of the major factors which changes from winter (no allergy) to summer (allergy).
 

erwina

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my pony has sweet itch, was hoping this new vaccine would end our misery, but seems like it wont work for everybody. has anyone else been on the trial?
 

catherine22

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JillA - He was bay as well, it took months to work out because like you said he's got black skin so it was unexpected. May be worth keeping your horse in the dark for a bit to see if it makes a difference. He rubbed all the typical sweetich areas first (tail and along the top of his mane-his mane was rubbed raw
 

JillA

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Thanks catherineF - worth thinking about because he NEVER gets itchy underneath. Bit of a struggle to keep him in the dark without giving him a whole load of walls and door frames to rub on - he is wearing a very fine mesh midge rug at the moment, if it gets wet and windy I could put his lightweight over that and see how that works out.
 

catherine22

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That one of the problems they came up against, was him rubbin him self when he was in. The answer was, as it was a ridng school and everyone was around all the time, in the day he was tied up under a shelter (like a car port open all sides just with a roof) with a haynet and he was happy, then was put out in the field at night - dont know how practical it would be for you tho?) It doesnt matter if you just keep the fly sheet on all the time if you dont want to re-rug as long as it has UV protection in. Even if it doesnt look very sunny keep the rug on or at least sunblock his worst areas.
Good Luck
 

Kezza

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Mine rubs his tail in the stable if we don't turn him out before 8.30am. I kid you not! I think it's boredom and gettin too hot. This year I have rugged him up far less and he's only been left in after 8.30am once and he rubbed it so I washed it with net tex equine surgical shampoo and keeping fingers crossed. Once they start to itch I think it starts a cycle of itching personally ...
 

MagicMelon

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catherineF - This is exactly what I have been thinking and why I just revisited this post just now to bring it up.

I read about this UV sensitive problem in a horsey magazine recently and wondered if it could be my boys problem. My horse normally takes the lower half of his mane out. This year I bought him a Boett and so far he has instead been rubbing raw only the area's exposed (top of his neck and head as I dont have the Boett face cover bit). He is almost black though, so I didnt think it could be this as assumed it must be only greys / light pigmented horses which is effected. But if your friends bay got it...... Our vet is coming out today (for another problem) so I will bring it up and see what she thinks.
 
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