To answer this we need to understand what sweet itch is, and how you can help your horse with this condition. Sweet Itch, also known as summer eczema, is a common skin condition seen in horses that often appears as an intensely itchy and irritating sores. The primary cause of sweet itch is an allergic reaction to biting midges, it is believed the body goes into overdrive releasing to many antibodies that attack the fly bite , which is why it often becomes worse during the spring and summer when midges are most active.
The number one sign of sweet itch is the presence of dry and itchy skin, which can lead to uncomfortable sores if left untreated . Dry skin can appear anywhere on the horse's body, but it is most commonly seen on the mane, withers, neck, and tail. Sweet itch often results in redness of the skin, loss of hair and scabs, and even open sores, as the horse scratches and rubs the affected area.
Herbs that will help
Brewers yeast - discourages the midges from biting.
Marigold - helps to heal
Cliver, nettles and burdock - help as a detox by removing the toxins caused by the body going into overdrive
Chamomile - helps to soothe and relax the nervous system which is being pushed into overdrive.
There are other steps you can take to help your horse with sweet Itch. Most importantly, you need to limit the number of midges and other bugs around the horse. This can be done by keeping the barn and paddocks clean and free of debris, removing standing water sources, and ensuring that the horse is covered when outdoors with a fly sheet, hood and fly mask.
It is also important to keep your horse's coat groomed and free of bacteria and fungus, as this can make it harder for the midges to get to the skin. Grooming your horse will also help distribute natural oils throughout the coat, which can help protect from bugs. Though over grooming can remove natural oils from the coat.
In terms of medical treatments, you might want to speak with your veterinarian about
antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce the itching and inflammation. Your vet may also recommend a medicated shampoo or cream to apply directly to the affected area to speed up the healing process.