“My horse IS ITCHY what do I do?!” The bane of our existence in Central Florida is the itchy horse. We spray, we scrub with shampoos, we slather lotions, feed herbs, concoct our own remedies; we buy, beg and eventually throw our hands in the air and plead for mercy. What is mercy? Winter, all three days of it!
The truth is, 95% of the itchy horses in Florida have an allergy to flies (any or all of the nasty flying beasts). So what does that mean? It means that aside from moving to a state without flies, not matter what you do, fly bites make those horses itch. All the above- mentioned “cures” provide only symptomatic relief to itchy horses. Steroids, unfortunately, are the only things that can definitely make an itchy horse stop itching, of course, not without consequence. They have numerous side effects including laminitis and tendon laxity. We use a low dose so the probability of these side effects is a small one. However, it doesn’t really matter how low it is when it turns out to be your horse that gets it. So these are the things I like to try first. Obviously, get rid of all the flies!! Then let me know how you did it so I can tell everyone else!!
“My horse is itchy what do I do?!”- Try these tips!
1. Fly Spray, Fly Spray, Fly Spray and then Fly Spray again. Absorbine Ultrasheild and Repel X are my favorites. Get one with 0.5% permethrin. That’s what makes it last. Next quit your job and stay home to spray your itchy horse Every 2-3 hours.
2. Rinse off all the sweat and dirt daily. Sweat has salt, salt is itchy too.
3. Betadine shampoo. 3xs a week. Lather and let sit for 10 minutes then rinse off. (Don’t use an anti-fungal shampoo, its not a fungus!) Betadine isn’t as drying and dryness is itchy. It kills the bacteria that Get on their skin from the environment. Bacteria are itchy.
4. Get the biggest fan you can find and put them in front of it for the day. Or at least give them the option, i.e.… stall or run in shed. Flies can’t fly against wind.
5. Fly mask with ear shields. Full body fly sheet. Don’t laugh, they make them! Of course half of these horses are against these items. And can get them off before you clear the paddock. The other half, wait until you are gone and then take them off, never to be found again. Oh and let us not forget the pasture mates who have and equal obsession with removal of said items!
6. Herbs – Wendal’s herbs make one called stop-itch that works fairly well. About 60% of users have some results with it. Can’t hurt!
7. Supplements – Flax seed. FA granules. Omega -3. Garlic.
8. Topical steroid – cortisone 10
So if you have tried all of this and your horse is still itching…. You’re not alone. Don’t worry; there are a few more things you can do medically. Call us and we can discuss it further. This is a constant battle and every horse reacts and responds a
We have posted a link to some of these products on our “Products and People We Love” page.