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Old 06-26-2010, 07:48 PM  
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Exclamation SUMMER ITCH 101 (everything you need to know to help your horse!)


Hey everyone!!! Okay I have had A LOT of people email me that have horses that suffer from summer itch asking for advice and inquiring how my horses are doing. Most of you know I have been thru the ringer with my horse over the last few years dealing with this problem. I have been doing research, making log books, trying different products, and basically using my horse as a guinea pig so-to-speak to finally be able to post a blog about this topic and give all of you a DEFINITE SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT PROGRAM. So, this is going to be a lengthly blog, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking a few minutes to read ALL of this if you have a horse that suffers from the dreaded Summer Itch. And perhaps if you all agree it is helpful, one of the mods can STICKY this and replace my past STICKY on this topic.

Below I will give you the low-down on "Summer Itch 101" including links to articles for your reference in addition to treatments and relief options for your horse. I have done EXTENSIVE research and tests on this common problem including (but certainly not limited to!) conservative treatments such as lotions, shampoos, and other topicals; also going as far as more expensive herbal treatments like supplements from china (yes, from china ); and even as far as injectable drug treatments (such as Dexamethasone), and expensive allergy testing and allergy shots, and although I cannot guarantee the treatment below will work for your horse, it is the ONLY thing that has worked for mine, and DEFINATELY worth giving it a try.

BACKGROUND OF "SUMMER ITCH" and the BEGINNING TREATMENT:
Basically "summer itch" is a horse's allergy to biting midges, scientific name Ceratopogonidae (also called Culicoides, or more commonly known as "no-see-ums") http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratopogonidae These biting midges can be infected with a parasite called a Neck Threadworm (or NTW). The very first thing to do is treat your horse for these NTWs. http://www.horsehealthdewormer.com/neck_thrdwrms.htm The best way to treat your horse is a DOUBLE DOSE OF EQUIMAX. Although Ivermectin has been proven to eliminate NTWs, it has been shown most effective if a product with both Ivermectin AND Praziquantal is used. I personally recommend doing a DOUBLE DOSE of Equimax and repeating this TWO WEEKS LATER. It will NOT hurt your horse, as I have spoken with NUMEROUS vets regarding double-dosing of this dewormer.

PREVENTION OF "SUMMER ITCH" and Allergy Problems:
After your have double-dose dewormed your horse twice, this MAY clear up your horse's "summer itch" problem, BUT.....if your horse continues to be exposed to biting midges, they will RE-INFECT him with NTWs......OR.....your horse may suffer from a skin allergy from biting midges like my horse Jep. Similar to a dog with a flea allergy, it takes ONE BITE to throw your horse into an itching frenzy. I have also been a vet tech for almost 9 years and I can tell you that not ALL dogs have a flea allergy. Many people come into the clinic with an itchy dog that scratches every so often and claims the dog has a "flea" allergy, when in reality, the dog just has a severe case of fleas....which is enough to make ANY dog itchy. So obviously we tell them to treat with a flea preventative (such as Comfortis, Frontline, or Advantage) and once the fleas are eliminated or greatly reduced, this usually cures the dog of any further itching. HOWEVER, there are other dogs that come in with hair loss, redness if the skin, and in some cases, severe itching that has caused the dog to bleed and get rough elephant-like skin and sores.....this is a true "flea allergy". The dog may already be on a flea preventative, and may not show any signs of having fleas (ie: when you flea comb them, you find one, or none!) In this case, it only takes ONE FLEA bite to cause the dog to go into an itching frenzy. In other words, some dogs can be covered in fleas, and only minorly itch. But a dog with a true flea allergy can be red with hair loss, and only be infected with one or 2 fleas. Horses are the same way......a month ago (May) I had 8 horses in my barn. Usually horses with summer itch do not start showing any signs until the first rain of spring (when all the midges hatch and come out in full-force). Over the winter, up until May, all 8 horses were fine, had gorgeous coats, no signs of itching or skin problems. Come May, after our first rain, my 2 thoroughbreds (who always have had summer itch) started to severely itch, the hair loss started, etc. They almost always start itching their tails and necks. The other 6 horses to this day still do not have a mark on them, but the 2 dark bay thoroughbreds were TORN THE HECK UP in just a matter of a couple days. Its not because the midges don't bite the other horses, its because the other horses do not have an ALLERGY, or sensitivity to them.

SO........what to do? This is where my ridiculously extensive research on fly protection has done it's job. Here's what I found has WORKED. You have a couple options, and it all depends on your horse--how badly they are itching, your financial situation. You will all appreciate the fact I have spent literally over $1000 SOLELY ON FLY CLOTHES to try them all out and find out what WORKS and what's a waste of money.....so YOU all don't have to!!! Woo-hoo right?? LOL Okay so I started out with HOODS.....literally bought one in every brand. This is the BEST protection I have found for midges as they CANNOT get thru or bite thru the lycra. I really like the Jammies brand, but ANY lycra hood will do the trick. I also tried out the Robinhood brand and purchased the KOOL Robinhood, which is a light mesh that will keep your horse cool. It was a nice hood, and kept my horse cool, but lasted THREE DAYS. It is supposedly 'stronger' than lycra, I DISAGREE. I spent A LOT of money on the hood, and my horse destroyed it. Now, my horse was already itchy, so he was still rubbing and itching even though I had a hood on him---the hood won't cure the itching right away, but it will prevent your horse from rubbing out his mane, and rubbing himself raw. But like I said I did not think the KOOL Robinhood held up AT ALL, and for the money, it was $$ wasted. So I was using these lycra Hoods for my 2 horses, which were working great. Last summer I had 3 hoods for Jep that I rotated (because they get sweaty and dirty and I needed to keep them clean) and all 3 hoods lasted ALL SUMMER--granted by the end of the summer they had rips and tears and holes in them and I ended up having to toss them out, but all-in-all they held up GREAT (they were various brands, all Lycra I believe one of them was Jammies brand, another was Sleazy, and i'm not sure of the 3rd). Anyway, so last summer that really worked well. This year, however, the horses were suffering more on their backs and tail area. I didn't want to get a full-lycra suit for them as it has been VERY HOT HERE. So I went thru literally about $500 in fly sheets, LOL. Here's what WORKS......................

I absolutely ADORE the AMIGO fly sheets by Horseware. Yes these are more expensive, but I promise you that you get what you pay for and these sheets will not only help your horse but LAST! I recommend either the *AMIGO BUG BUSTER SHIELD or the AMIGO BUG RUG.

http://shop.horseware.com/products/category/Amigo/1455.0.1.1.40799.49160.0.0.0

The Bug Buster Shield is awesome, it actually has built-in bug prevention that keeps away the flies and midges!! And lasts thru 25 washes! I don't think I have ever washed any of my sheets 25 times, so it will last a LONG time!! The Bug Shield actually has a built-in fly repellent. I'm not sure how well that works, but I would still opt to pay the extra $20 bucks because I do think the Bug Shield is a little better made than the Bug Rug....it has a little higher quality snap for the tail cord, and also has a belly band rather than just surcingles.....both sheets work great, but I think the Bug Shield is a tad better quality. I purchased BOTH of these sheets..........they both offer the SAME protection and are the SAME material....so whichever one you get will suffice. They both fit my horses great--again i think the fit is a little better on the Shield because of the belly band, my horses wear them EVERY NIGHT (I usually take them off in the mornings because it has been SO hot here, heat index of 109 during the day!) I will say though, the sheets are VERY lightweight...and are MUCH COOLER than other sheets I have tried. In the mornings my horses are MINIMALLY sweaty or NOT sweaty at all, and NONE of the sheets have ripped or torn (and considering my horse shredded a "high quality Robinhood" in 3 days that says A LOT of this sheet!!!! They are holding up FANTASTICLY........the neck covers are great, they do not stay up to the poll as much as I'd like, however they do stay up the majority of the neck. The ONLY place where my horses are still itching is around their ears and their face/muzzles. SO...........that's where the fly mask comes in. I have not ordered the fly mask from AMIGO yet (as I just this week found out that they have one!), but I plan to. It's about $20 bucks, and will be well worth it!! For now, i use human OFF bug spray and spray the heck out of my horse's face and ears (SOAK THEIR HEADS WITH IT!!!) before I go in for the night, and this has DRASTICALLY helped!!!!!! Here is one of my favorite sellers on ebay: hrsn4fun They offer the Amigo sheets at great prices and offer FREE SHIPPING (and my sheets were at my door in TWO DAYS!) So should you decide to purchase an Amigo, I highly recommend them!


Now, if money is not an issue, and your horse suffers SEVERELY with this problem, I recommend this UNBELIEVABLE PRODUCT from the UK. You used to ONLY be able to get it in the UK, now we have a United States distributor!!!!!!! Now, I will post multiple links to this sheet--the UK website has ALL the details of this sheet--WORTH READING!!!!!!! But most UK sites will not ship to the US (or if they do the shipping is $$$). Now, I plan on ordering this sheet for the Jepster, but I am sending him to a trainer in north florida in a week, so I don't plan on ordering it until he gets back......but I have spoken with a couple people who have this sheet and they have absolutely nothing but wonderful things to say about it!!!! So....here is the link to the UK site (like I said I recommend reading about the sheet and all that it does!)
http://www.solva-icelandics.co.uk/sweet1.htm
http://www.sweet-itch.co.uk/boett.html


And here is the link to the US site for ordering:
http://estellesreflectivewear.com/cart/?action=View%20Items&catid=6&category=Sweet%20Itch %20Blankets&categoryid=6



Okay............so now you have all the info and links to what works as far as prevention. But most of you are sitting here reading this with already severely itchy horses that have rubbed their skin RAW. What do you do? Well, I have literally tried every equine AND human anti-itch cream, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, spray, gel, etc. And I FINALLY CAME UP WITH a solution!!!!!!!! Tikigator's "Bite and Itch Lotion"....it is a lotion that combines an analgesic cream with an anti-itch reliever. I am now distributing this product! It is in a 4 oz. bottle. I started using this cream on Jep earlier this month as he was BLOODY on his poll, ears, and muzzle from rubbing and itching (as these are all places where the Hood does not cover!) I apply this cream to the effected areas before bedtime, and ONE WEEK LATER his hair was GROWING BACK! It is instant relief for your horse, and the best part is you can use it on YOURSELF! It is awesome for burns, bug bites, even poison ivy! So, if you'd like to purchase a bottle to try for your horse, email me at tikigatorfarm@aol.com The cost is $7.99 a bottle plus S&H....I swear on this product and it is the ONLY thing that has helped my horse (and, the only cream I have tried on my self that relieves itching instantly and lasts all day!) I also have used it on Louie's tail as he rubbed out the dock of his tail, and since I started applying this cream, not only has it stopped itching his butt/tail but the hair has started growing back!

RECAP:
So now you all are educated on Summer Itch, the causes and symptoms. You also also have reviews of fly protection that works, and opens in different price ranges to buy clothes for your horse without spending money on sheets that do not work or do not last. You also have access to purchase an anti-itch lotion that has really WORKED for my horses! I hope this blog has helped you guys, answered some of your questions, and now you are able to give your horse some relief from this common, but very irritating and stressful problem that we deal with every single year.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to post here as I will try my best to log on as often as I can to answer questions you may have....and that way the questions/answers will be able to be read by others. I really hope this helps as I have tried SO many things over the past few years and have finally found a solution that works for my horses.

Thanks everyone!!!

Laura (Tikigator)
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:41 PM  
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Couple questions...

Thanks for the informative thread. Not having to deal with summer itch thank goodness, but interested in the ingredients in your bug lotion for the occational horsefly bite, etc.

Also, is OFF safe to use on horses on a regular basis?
We need some new pics of that beautiful boy of yours BTW
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:21 AM  
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Originally Posted by PaintsQH View Post
Thanks for the informative thread. Not having to deal with summer itch thank goodness, but interested in the ingredients in your bug lotion for the occational horsefly bite, etc.

Also, is OFF safe to use on horses on a regular basis?
We need some new pics of that beautiful boy of yours BTW

Bite and Itch contains Pramoxine and Diphenhydramine. This is the only product that I could find that contains both and the correct strengths the be effective....which is why I have become a distributor as I could not find it in any store. It is absolutely amazing for ant bites, mosquito bites, burns, sunburns, poison ivy/oak, jelly fish stings, etc. I have used it for a long time (since I was a kid) but the only drugstore that had it doesnt carry it anymore (actually I don't even know if the drugstore is still open) but now I have it available again.

I have tried multiple over the counter itch products on my horse and myself, very few are effective for me, muchless him. Cortizone, Benedryl Cream, Gold Bond, Lanacane, Caladryl, Lotrimin, etc etc. None of them worked (and I went through a bottle or tube of each to give it a fair shot). The key is that there is an antihistamine AND an anesthetic in the same product. So not only does it relieve the itching but it relieves the pain and inflammation association with it.

As far as OFF goes I have no idea. I haven't found any bug spray effective enough to ward off the no-see-ums all night long. And in that department, I have also tried everything. I don't see why it would be a problem to use OFF on a horse....it is more concerning to use horse products on a human as the pesticides are in a much higher concentrate. I just don't know how effective the human spray would be on a horse--how long it would stay on, etc.

Jep's doing great BTW He's in north FL right now where there are no midges so he is itch-free! (yay!) His cousin Louie on the other hand is still here and dealing with the bugs, but between his Amigo sheet and the Bite and Itch lotion he's looking and feeling great!
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:39 AM  
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Thanks for all the great information
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:37 AM  
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Also, is OFF safe to use on horses on a regular basis?
If it contains DEET, I would be hesitant.
I know Deep Woods Off has DEET in it, not sure
if OFF does. I love Endure w/ Avon SSS.
Endure by the gallon is more economical than
by the pint and just got my summer supply of Avon
SSS at the flea market ~ 2 of the large bottle (24oz?)
for $15 and the feed stores have the same size bottle
for $17 ea ~ Got 2 for less than the price of 1
I put about 2 capfulls of Avon SSS per pint of Endure.

Jep is looking mighty fine these days

Love the new horse too !! Finally getting come
"color" and "stock horse" in your barn I know
your love will always be TB's

Hope "college" is going well for Jepster, love the pics and
videos you have posted on FB !!! He looks great !!!

Hope others can learn from this thread

*knock on wood* no summer itch here - Thank Goodness !!
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:24 PM  
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Do you think that cream you sure would work for something called "sweat itch?" my horse is recently rubbing hair off her face where she sweats. Around te eyes, under her chin an around her ears. I live in port orange florda, so not too far from you. I was told that's why she's itching. Think the cream would do much?
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:02 AM  
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Do you think that cream you sure would work for something called "sweat itch?" my horse is recently rubbing hair off her face where she sweats. Around te eyes, under her chin an around her ears. I live in port orange florda, so not too far from you. I was told that's why she's itching. Think the cream would do much?


Kendal to my knowledge there is no such thing as sweat itch....so maybe you mean "sweet itch". Sweet itch and summer itch are the same thing....and its basically kind of like the word "colic"....all colic means is a stomach ache. Sweet or Summer Itch is basically an all-around word for horses that have summer skin conditions....the irritations it can be caused from NTWs (neck thread worms), a sensitivity to bugs, allergy to midges/no-see-ums, etc.

The lotion helps with itching from all causes...so regardless of why she is itching, it will help calm her skin so hopefully she won't itch at all. But on the same token you still have to maintain a good grooming program, and try your best to get rid of the source of the problem....and if your horse's skin is becoming irritated from sweat being dried on the hair you need to make sure you sponge her off or hose her face off every evening and get the sweat/dirt off her face....that is one reason I prefer not to use fly masks--because I have yet to find a fly mask that my horses' dont sweat like crazy underneath.


Hope that helps
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:48 PM  
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Sorry! Lol. I was told by people who well aren't really great horse owners... Well she fights me when I try to clean her face, even with a sponge. But I'll keep trying. And yes, bugs bother her more then others. She bucks and squeals and runs from them... I live in Florida, how much would the shipping cost? And does it last long? I was using MTG, which made it soft, but did nothing else! I've recently bought R.M. Minard's GNatural cream. Dint think it's helping much, but trying!

Other question, I'm going to try the double dose of equimax, she's only 1000lbs, do I give her the whole dose? And would a bug off supplement help?
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:00 AM  
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Sorry! Lol. I was told by people who well aren't really great horse owners... Well she fights me when I try to clean her face, even with a sponge. But I'll keep trying. And yes, bugs bother her more then others. She bucks and squeals and runs from them... I live in Florida, how much would the shipping cost? And does it last long? I was using MTG, which made it soft, but did nothing else! I've recently bought R.M. Minard's GNatural cream. Dint think it's helping much, but trying!

Other question, I'm going to try the double dose of equimax, she's only 1000lbs, do I give her the whole dose? And would a bug off supplement help?


Yep, went through many bottles of MTG and GNatural cream (which wasnt cheap!) and it did NOTHING.

I apply the Bite and Itch at night time (since thats when they itch the most) and again in the morning until the itching is under control (then I just apply it at night).

Shipping is $2 ($9.99 total). My trainer's wife actually texted me yesterday saying how great the creame is working. I seriously cannot even explain how amazing it is. (get have horrible red ants down her...if I get a red ant bite it usually itches me for DAYS. i put the creame on and not only is the itch gone within a couple minutes but it lasts all day for me)

As far as the Equimax a double dose for a 1,000lb horse would be the dose for a 2,000lb horse. I think the tube goes upto either 1300 or 1600lbs i can't remember. so you'll probably need 2 tubes. but you can just cap what you don't use and give it to her another time.
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:36 AM  
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Thank you very much!!!! I'd love to buy some then! $10! I can handle that! Hoping it'll help! Wear I keep her is free but the other horses have seen a vet in about 7 years.... So I try to keep up with EVERYTHING health requirement! And I'm afraid she does have those worms! I'll do the double dose. I e-mail you to buy correct?
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:43 PM  
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This is the only stuff I have EVER found to work. Had my mare cleared up in less than a week!!!! Works great

http://www.equinemedsurg.com/searticle.html
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:55 AM  
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Im sooooooo glad its working for your girl Looks like a great product.
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Old 07-04-2010, 12:44 AM  
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Summer sweet itch

Hi everyone, I found a horse lotion from Iceland that I use on my Icelandic horse since last summer, He has severe summer sweat itch from being allergic to gnats. It's an all natural lotion as far as I can tell from the ingrediants lable.
and the flyspray called Fly gone 7000 between those two things he has had a mane and coat last summer and this. The lotion is a bit costly it was over $25. but it goes really far, I had to use it on my horses entire body just about and only went thru three bottles last summer, You can put it right on an open soar and within a week hair will be growing back. I found out about it thru a person that I contacted thru the Icelandic horse assoctiation.
So if anyone is interested in it I can help the get it. I don't get anything for it , I just want people to be able to help the horses stop itching. I spent over 7 years with my horse suffering every summer and tried every treatment out there and nothing helped till I tried the lotion and fly spray. email me if you want to get some. It also works on other types of irritations on horses.

iceryder@comcast.net

Thanks
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Old 07-25-2010, 02:09 PM  
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This is the only stuff I have EVER found to work. Had my mare cleared up in less than a week!!!! Works great

http://www.equinemedsurg.com/searticle.html

LuvMyMares I ordered that in June and did a trial with one of my horses---he has been on it almost a month with absolutely no improvement at all. Another friend of mine also ordered the spray and has also seen no improvement, glad it worked for your horse, but no such luck with mine or my friends.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:51 AM  
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Well, it worked while it lasted..... I am gonna have to get with you tikigator and get some of your stuff.
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:50 PM  
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Could sweet itch be the problem with my baby? The websites say that the horse usually doesn't get it before 1 or 2 year old. My baby is 8 weeks but she is scratching the hair off her neck , shoulders and tail with some also on her face. The only thing that seems to give her any relief is plain old vaseline! Poor thing is so itchie! (She is very easy to catch as long as you let her know you will scratch!) Is everything in the "Bit and Itch Lotion" OK for horses to eat?
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:56 PM  
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Could sweet itch be the problem with my baby? The websites say that the horse usually doesn't get it before 1 or 2 year old. My baby is 8 weeks but she is scratching the hair off her neck , shoulders and tail with some also on her face. The only thing that seems to give her any relief is plain old vaseline! Poor thing is so itchie! (She is very easy to catch as long as you let her know you will scratch!) Is everything in the "Bit and Itch Lotion" OK for horses to eat?
I would look into other factors causing the itch and not just quick to blame the bugs.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:25 PM  
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The baby (and mom) has been wormed with Strongid . The vet thought the tail rubbing might have something to do with tapeworms. No relief. Try, try again!
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:43 AM  
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Could sweet itch be the problem with my baby? The websites say that the horse usually doesn't get it before 1 or 2 year old. My baby is 8 weeks but she is scratching the hair off her neck , shoulders and tail with some also on her face. The only thing that seems to give her any relief is plain old vaseline! Poor thing is so itchie! (She is very easy to catch as long as you let her know you will scratch!) Is everything in the "Bit and Itch Lotion" OK for horses to eat?

Sneezy, first of all, I wouldn't recommend a horse ingesting the lotion.......if you rub it on the face/tail/mane they shouldn't lick it off.

second of all, I agree with the vet, most weanlings are wormy and need to be dewormed adequately.

third, is this your first foal? weanlings will shed their foal coats between 2 and 4 months of age. are you sure she's just not shedding? they will rub on things to shed, as it is itchy (similar to our adult horses shedding their winter coats in the spring)
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:11 PM  
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Location: Finger lakes region, NY
Posts: 1
I've done everything, it works THANK YOU

My mare Penny wouldn't stop rubbing her coat and skin off her neck. I wrapped ice cold towels around her neck and it would stop for a couple minutes, then the rubbing would start again. With the vet's permission, I gave her some Banamine. She had a fly sheet, a flymask, loose neck attachment. Her neck was so hot tom the touch. I rub cortisone on her neck twice a day and spray Genesis for dogs with flea allergies twice a day. I bought a yard Nd a half of swimsuit Lycra and made her a simple neck piece that also covered her chest and shoulders. I cut two holes for her ears, and when I put her fly mask on, it stays all the way up. I did your suggestion of the Equimax double dose, and I will double dose again this weekend. she has the amigo bug buster fly shield blanket, and it is not quite 2 weeks from the Lycra beclouded Nd the cortisone Nd genesis and equimax, but she sins much better! Neck is recovering quickly, no rubbing, no heat. So much happier! So glad I found your writing!
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