Itchy Summer Solutions- Sprays, Lotions, Salves and More to Combat Midges, Flies and other pests August 14 2015

Since all our horses here in California seem to be impacted by Sweet Itch this summer, I thought I'd make a quick note of Sweet Itch- what it is, and what you can do to prevent/ameliorate the problem, and how Whole Equine can help.

You've all seen it- a horse uncontrollably itching off his tail, hair, belly, you name it.  This is usually caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva secreted by midge bites- known as culicoides- but can also be a symptom of many other problems, including parasites, lice, and other types of insect bites, so be sure to get your vet's opinion before figuring out a treatment plan.  

Currently, there are no cures for sweet itch. But, with diligent use of natural protective products and lifestyle management, you can make your horse significantly more comfortable without the use of toxic chemicals until wintertime, when the midges are dormant.  Here's a list of stable management practices and products that can help:

  • Housekeeping:  
    • Muck!  Poop = insects.
    • Stable your horse away from water sources- midges love water- a windy hillside is best
    • Keep your horse's home dry
  • Physical insect protection:
    • Fly sheets- especially those that cover his tail and legs;
    • Fly masks.  Simple and straight forward :)
  • Topical Creams to soothe the itch: 
  • Fly Spray to repel the bugs:
  • Vitamin B3 to soothe the skin and repel bugs:
  • Supplements to soothe the itch and repel bugs from the inside out: 
    • Buggzo- very popular supplement from HorseTech includes garlic, vitamin B, and apple cider vinegar
    • Bye Bye Itch- All herbal supplement includes diatomaceous earth (parasite control) and flax (natural coat oil enhancer to protect skin from insects)
    • Stop Itch- All herbal supplement includes garlic (insect repellent) and dandelion (immunity booster)
  • Other natural helpful hints:
    • These ingredients are helpful in soothing irritated skin:
      • Apple Cider Vinegar (did you guess I was going say that? :)
      • Colloidal Oatmeal (ever take an oatmeal bath as a kid? :)
      • Borage
      • Tea Tree Oil
      • Evening Primrose
      • Aloe Vera
      • Sulphur
      • Menthol

I hope your horse (and your nerves!) feel better this summer and fall, and if you want to read more about natural remedies, see this great article from Holistic Horse.