What were the first signs of sweetitch if your horse has it?

Pc2003

Active Member
Joined
14 June 2015
Messages
548
I’ve posted a couple of times about my 2yr old and his skin. Thought it was lice, then maybe ring worm/fungal thing, but have treated for both and no different really. It started on his face with bald patches, and some patches along his mane line and now some patches in his armpits. Vet was out to another horse on the yard as I was bringing my youngster in and asked her to have a quick look and she didn’t think it was fungal. More like sweetitch. ☹️
He doesn’t seem overly itchy. He has a rub on the wall when I bring him in and is a bit tail swishy. I’ve had a horse before with sweetitch and it started about the same age but the patches soon got sore she was extremely itchy to the point she couldn’t be tied up.
I’d be gutted if I had another with it. He’s a Connemara
 

Surbie

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 July 2017
Messages
699
For mine the rugs start going on when I see him having a long, joyous belly rub in the dirt. So yesterday. :)

Last year he rubbed off the top of his tail and sections of his forelock & mane by June (couldn't be rugged with the companions he had). His appears to be 'only' on midline, mane, top of tail and his ears/forelock.

I have not really seen any lotions or potions work for mine other than to briefly soothe the itching. If I don't keep him rugged as a barrier he is totally plagued by all flies and very, very unhappy. This year we are starting with a good amount of tail, mane and forelock and I hope it lasts the season!
 

Chippers1

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 February 2017
Messages
454
My connie has mild sweet itch, I've had him 2 years so not sure when it started but the itching normally starts around May. He rubs his mane, face and tail. The first year I had him he had a big bald patch in the middle of his head!
He came with fly rugs but I found that he was getting too hot under them and whatever wasn't rubbed off, fell out. Plus he gets picked on so they would often come in ripped 🙄

Last summer after a few months of hair loss and itching i took a punt on buying Stinky Stuff (which is basically neem oil) and it improved him no end, the patch on his head grew back, his mane is full again and his tail. I've started putting it on already this year, when I see flies about, so fingers crossed we won't get to the point he was last year!
 

AnShanDan

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 May 2007
Messages
1,063
I bred a ConxTB and she had the first signs at 2. It was later in the summer, maybe August? Just starting itching her tail/mane really. Rubbed it a lot that first year before I got a small fly rug for her, but since then I've kept it pretty much under control with a comb. of rugging and stabling at dawn/dusk. You'd never know now she has sweet itch.
 

Nasicus

Active Member
Joined
15 December 2015
Messages
684
All fine and dandy, mounds of luscious hair, then one day over summer when she was 1yo, came in with her neck red raw, mane ripped out in chunks. So didn't really get any 'first signs' as she went from 0 to 100, and obviously has a jolly good scratch session under a tree branch or similar. Got her tested via Intradermal Skin Testing as a 3yo last year which confirmed the sweetitch/atopic dermatitis diagnosis.
 

Pc2003

Active Member
Joined
14 June 2015
Messages
548
I’ve had a youngster before who developed it and it was so severe she ended up being pts few years later, couldn’t keep her in consistent work, lived a life of misery. Hence my dread.
He’s never been rugged at all ever so a boett would take a lot of getting used to plus he is still so hairy.
Can’t say I’ve caught him scratching but there isn’t much in the field to scratch on. My old youngster used to rub on the ground and I’ve certainly not seen him doing that or kicking his belly. He does seem a bit more irritated than the others tho
 

Pc2003

Active Member
Joined
14 June 2015
Messages
548
Those pics were from a month or so ago. Now he has lost some more coat the patches on his neck look larger and dryer.
His chest now looks a lot like his face. And his arm pits. Can’t see any on his body or tail etc
No skin has broken
 
Last edited:
Joined
19 August 2012
Messages
392
I’ve posted a couple of times about my 2yr old and his skin. Thought it was lice, then maybe ring worm/fungal thing, but have treated for both and no different really. It started on his face with bald patches, and some patches along his mane line and now some patches in his armpits. Vet was out to another horse on the yard as I was bringing my youngster in and asked her to have a quick look and she didn’t think it was fungal. More like sweetitch. ☹️
He doesn’t seem overly itchy. He has a rub on the wall when I bring him in and is a bit tail swishy. I’ve had a horse before with sweetitch and it started about the same age but the patches soon got sore she was extremely itchy to the point she couldn’t be tied up.
I’d be gutted if I had another with it. He’s a Connemara
Most horses and ponies I have known with sweet itch rubbed the mane and tail .There is an interesting condition you may not have heard of if you can have a look Google EQUINE NECK THREAD WORMS .Worth a read as they are said to be global .
 

Pc2003

Active Member
Joined
14 June 2015
Messages
548
These are more under his mane or on the mane line rather than rubbing his mane.
I’ve now got my vet coming tomorrow as I’ve treated for lice, ring worm, fungal etc and it’s still there. Will report back
 

Fransurrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 April 2004
Messages
4,788
Location
Surrey
That does look like lice or something else, rather than sweet itch in that pic. My mare has it severely. She's going back on anti-histamines after the winter off, as she's suddenly rubbed her tail and it's already bald at the top. Going to be a long summer...
I've never come across any sweet itch pony that had bald patches in the arm pits.
 

Pc2003

Active Member
Joined
14 June 2015
Messages
548
I’ve treated him several times for lice so would be shocked if it’s that (always me first point of call)
It’s like the skin is quite scaley in these patches? Like lizards skin? 😂
 
Joined
16 January 2006
Messages
2,851
hi just wondered if he is on any supplements? if not i would try linseed meal and a broad spectrum vit supplement. if it is not down to critters then i tend to think of feeding from within
 

Pc2003

Active Member
Joined
14 June 2015
Messages
548
hi just wondered if he is on any supplements? if not i would try linseed meal and a broad spectrum vit supplement. if it is not down to critters then i tend to think of feeding from within
Thank you. He wasn’t fed at all till about 2 weeks ago and I’ve started him on some linseed oils, chaff and a vit supplement. Hoping that may help
 

_HP_

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 November 2009
Messages
1,958
It doesn't look or sound like classic sweet itch to me although two is a common age for it to start.
I would rule out sweet Itch...I have three and each is different but all rub the mane and tail ,belly and face.
Could it be something he is eating or something in your environment that is irritating his skin?
 

MrsJingle

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 September 2009
Messages
588
To me it sounds more like lice - I have a horse with sweet itch and also one of my donkeys who is very prone to lice at this time of year..but nothing else in the field seems to get them! Last spring after every treatment i could think of for my poor little donkey my vet stepped in with a course of ivermectin injections and I also carried on with treating with Butox cattle pour on. We eventually cleared the lice and his skin by about mid July. It was very distressing to see him being driven mad by the lice and not being able to help him but we got there in the end. This year I have got on top of it sooner - I hope!

If it is sweet itch dont despair - I now have my mare on a regime where she has gone from literally throwing herself on the ground when being driven mad by the midges and biting at herself and has lots of horrible tough old scars to prove it - to turned out without rugs 24/7 with a beautiful full tail but sadly still hogged because the historical damage to her mane has scarred the skin so badly that two thirds of it will never grow again. if your vet says SI please feel free to message me if you would like to know more about how I have managed to get to this point with my SI horse.
 

Leo Walker

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 July 2013
Messages
9,107
Location
Northampton
Thank you. He wasn’t fed at all till about 2 weeks ago and I’ve started him on some linseed oils, chaff and a vit supplement. Hoping that may help
Make sure there is no iron in it and high levels of zinc and copper. Put him on 10gms of salt per 100kgs of bodyweight as well. I dont think it will fix him, but will help him once you find and fix the source.
 

Surbie

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 July 2017
Messages
699
I’ve treated him several times for lice so would be shocked if it’s that (always me first point of call)
It’s like the skin is quite scaley in these patches? Like lizards skin? 😂
We have one at the RDA who has a seasonal skin disorder - we have no idea what causes it, possibly pollens, but in spring and autumn she is very itchy on her face, sometimes her neck and rump too. The skin underneath goes scaly and the hair falls out. She scrapes her cheeks bald. The vet gave us an emoliant spray and that seems to deal with it and the hair then grows back, but it is unsightly and the pony is itchy for a while.
 
Joined
21 April 2014
Messages
459
I always use kilitch and wash my boy at least twice a week during the summer. you would not know he had it unless you looked really closely. he is always rugged and is in at night
 

Pc2003

Active Member
Joined
14 June 2015
Messages
548
Just to update....

Vet just been. Took some scrapes. Doesn’t think sweetitch. She thought maybe mites or something microscopic that he’s reacted to. She said it’s like his body has gone into overdrive and produced all this greasy dandruffy type skin. She gave me a sulpher wash but reckons it will go as his coat does
 
Joined
16 February 2009
Messages
8,516
Location
Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
Mmmm... TBH, those pictures do not LOOK like sweet itch; someone else has mentioned thread worms in the neck.

If the horse has fully blown sweet itch, then the mane and tail would be rubbed and (now the midges are out big-time) I'd expect those areas to be raw.

The areas that are mentioned as being affected don't seem true-to-form for Sweet Itch I'd say; my old boy had SI so I know what to look for, and IMO this isn't typical.

Ask you vet is the best thing.
 
Top