Sweet itch

Sweet itch

"Sweet itch" as it is commonly known is caused by an allergy to bites of midges.

“Sweet itch” as it is commonly known is caused by an allergy to the bites of midges.

Horses can be irritated by the bites of many types of flies; however, allergies are most likely to develop to one of the species of Culicoides midges.

Now is the time to start planning prevention. The following measures may all be useful to prevent midges from biting:

• Use fly hoods and body sheets
• Application of insect repellents. Pyrethroid or permethrin-containing products are generally the most effective
• Stabling especially around dawn and dusk
• Placing ultrafine (60 squares/inch) netting over stable doors and windows, (regular mosquito nets are not fine enough)
• Spraying housing and screens with insecticides
• Timer operated insecticidal sprays
• Installation of fans within stables (midges are very weak fliers)
• Stabling/turn-out more than half a mile from static water where midges breed
• Stabling/turn-out away from woods, trees and high hedges where midges congregate
• Stabling/turn-out in wind-swept, open locations

In addition, a sweet itch vaccination is available but it is important that the treatment course is started before the clinical signs begin to show. Prevention always wins over cure!

Telephone 01451 820 137 to speak to one of our vets regarding the preventatives and treatments that are available to us.

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