Itchy horse? Tips For Identifying And Managing Skin Conditions

by Fiona Lane February 04, 2022

Itchy horse? Tips for identifying and managing skin conditions

It’s not uncommon for horses to get itchy, lumpy, scurfy skin, but this year the itches and issues seem worse and more widespread than usual. If you have an itchy horse, here's a few tips on how to identify some of the most common skin ailments, and suggestions for how to manage them using our range of 100% natural remedies.

There are so many reasons for skin conditions that often it can be hard to tell what the issue is, which can also make it tricky to know that you are using the right treatment. As always, if your horses’ condition is serious or persistent, we would recommend talking to your vet.

A word about itchy rumps

We often get asked about remedies for horses that constantly rub their rumps against anything they can find! If your horse is up-to-date with worming and you have checked that their sheath/udder does not need cleaning, then it’s likely this is related to behaviour more than an ailment that needs a remedy. Mares often gently bite newborn foals on the base of their tails to stimulate bowel movements, so rubbing this area is often done for comfort, or just out of boredom! If you are concerned the behaviour is due to stress, then you could try our Chilled Out Horse, or Separation Anxiety - Equine for more severe OCD related issues.

Grass allergies

If you’re getting ready for a big show and Bam! your horse suddenly breaks out in welts, there’s a good chance it’s down to a grass allergy. Welts is one presentation of this seasonal allergy, but it can also present as general itchiness that isn’t confined to a particular area, hay fever-like symptoms, lethargy or irritability. As this allergy needs to be treated during show season, it’s important to use a remedy that is competition safe and that doesn’t have any side effects that might affect performance. Sounds like our Grass Allergy Equine – a 100% natural remedy that supports a normal immune response to these allergens.

Insects, Mites &  Midges

The trick is figuring out which bug is doing the biting! A reaction to a bug bite is often short lived lasting around 10 days or so – however the allergic reaction won’t stop until the bugs do, and in the meantime our much-loved horses can rub their skin raw inviting in a bacterial infection. Getting these allergies sorted early, and continuing to treat throughout the season, is important.

Sometimes where the itching occurs can indicate which biting bug you need to deal with.

If it’s mozzies, ticks or flies that are doing the biting, then bites and itchiness won’t be confined to just one area. We recommend our innovative Ticks Plus remedy – it’s dosed orally via the water trough and works to subtly change the body odour of the horse so these biting bugs no longer see it as their next meal. Genius! And probably why it’s one of our best sellers.

Feather Mites tend to take up home in the feathered areas making some breeds, such as Clydesdales, more susceptible. Infested horses tend to stamp and bite at their legs or rub their legs against things that can result in broken skin, and in severe cases this can cause scarring that affects movement of the pastern joints. Our Feather Mites Plus remedy has a repellent effect on these mites that takes 7-10 days to take effect and can then be managed with dose in the water trough every second day.

Sweet Itch – also known as Queensland Itch or Summer Itch - is caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva of the Australian-based cullicoides midge. These little beasties are usually found in the mane or tail, so if you live in Australia and your horse is itchy in one of these places or is constantly rubbing its rump on whatever it can find, these midges could be the cause. It’s worth treating before skin is rubbed raw inviting more severe infection. Our Sweet Itch Plus remedy is dosed via the water trough to give a boost to the immune system every time the horse takes a drink. Our customers tell us they usually see a change in the horses’ condition within the first week.

Pin Worms can also be a reason why a horse is constantly itching and rubbing its rump. If you think your horse has worms, we recommend talking to your vet for treatment.

Lice seem to be everywhere this summer! We’ve had so many customers contacting us needing help managing these little nasties that we’ve created a remedy as a one off. If your horse seems troubled by Lice and you’d like to give this remedy a try, let us know! 

Warts

These unsightly blemishes aren’t harmful and will often clear up on their own as the immune system develops, particularly in younger horses. Sometimes warts grow in unhelpful areas, such as on an eyelid. In this case, we recommend dosing with our Warts Plus remedy.

Oedema & Swelling

Changes to grasses across the seasons can affect blood protein levels in some horses, resulting in swelling in places where fluid might pool due to the effects of gravity – a swollen sheath or under belly are the most common presentations. Puffiness Plus is formulated to support a natural immune response to this kind of swelling.

Rain Scald & Mud Fever / Scratches

These conditions are caused by bacteria called Dermatophilus congolensis and present as scabby crusts or clumps of matted hair.  It’s called Rain Scald if caused by chronic dampness due to water run off down the barrel, shoulders and hind quarters, or Mud Fever (Scratches if you live in USA) if it presents on the lower legs of horses that stand in mud or snow, or graze in long wet grass.

These conditions become a real problem when the crusts peel off, leaving spots of bare or broken skin that are prone to infection. Treatment can be painful and traumatising for both animal and owner, which is why we developed our groundbreaking Mud & Rain remedy. This remedy is given orally so there’s no need to touch or scrape affected areas or apply bandages and creams. It’s one of our most popular remedies – take a look at the reviews!

Can an oral remedy help?

One thing our customers love about our remedies is that they’re dosed orally, and often by simply adding remedy to a water trough. We often get asked how oral dosing can be effective. If you’re also wondering, then take a look at these oral dosing FAQs.

Knowing exactly what you are treating is key to getting a good result, so if you are unsure or already dealing with a severe reaction we recommend talking to your vet.



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