Sweet- Itch is a severe autoimmune over reaction. It is caused by Midges biting the horse and the horse having an excessive allergic reaction to the saliva. This causes intolerable itching.
The poor horse or pony is driven demented as their skin must feel as if it’s on fire!
The skin will get very dry, scurfy and crusty, often the horse will have oozing sores, or will scratch it’s self until it bleeds, trying to get some relief from the dreadful itching.
The places most often attacked by the midge are;
- The neck along the mane
- The top of the tail
- Along the spine
- Under the belly
- Under the chest
- Around the pasterns & fetlocks
- Round the eyes on some unfortunate ones, as well as
- The muzzle and in some very severe cases the whole body.
Management consists mostly of providing a physical barrier to stop the midge being able to bite the horse; with some cases this can be done by the use of specific products containing D.E.E.T. which will repel midges, and they need to be long lasting for maximum protection, for instance:
Itching? By Flints Yard 300ml
Itching? is a 100% natural midge repellent
lotion with the main active ingredient being Margosa, which is extracted from
the same plant as Neem. It also contains a secret blend of other essential oils,
chosen for their midge repellent properties. All of these ingredients are added
to a base of Aloe Vera known for its powerful, soothing and healing
Itching? Lotion can be applied directly to the
skin of horses, or can be mixed up to 1:12 with water and sprayed on the coat.
Dilution does not affect the repellent qualities of the product, merely negates
the action of the Aloe Vera. The product is blended in the UK and is licensed
and with HSE (8490). Itching? has been product and stability tested and holds
full safety data sheets. We have spent many years trialling our product and are
proud to boast an 83% success rate with severe Sweet Itch cases, together with
extremely positive Tried and Tested reviews from the media.
Always apply a test patch to your horse first i.e.; inside
the thigh and wait 24 hours to ensure no reaction. We recommend applying the
lotion to mane, tail and other soft skin areas twice a day for the first week.
It can be used on face, ears, sheath, and udder areas. After this period,
depending on severity of midge conditions, lotion once a day with spray
coverage of the body should suffice.
To start with, a weekly bath is essential, before the cream is applied, preferably with a surgical shampoo to sterilise the skin. The skin must be kept clean.
Do AVOID strong shampoos as they will irritate the already sore skin further. Tea Tree can be very irritating.
For severe cases, a specialist blanket that is midge proof may be necessary. Ordinary fly rugs won't do the job because the holes are too large and the midges can bit through the material. The Boett Blanket is excellent as well as the Snuggy Bug Rug.
For others, like my pony, I need to use a combination of
“Itching? ” and a Snuggy Bug Rug as the rug covers most of her, but she also gets very sore round the top of her coronets, fetlocks, nose, and eyes, just about everywhere! so I use the cream on the exposed bits.
It took a very long time, about a year in fact, to get her comfortable, but now she is, she’s a lot easier to manage and she is now a very happy pony!
Please be very patient with them, believe me, they will love you for your care and reward you ten times over!
I hope this has been helpful to you; for more advice visit the sweet itch help line at
back to “Itch Stop Salve Complete”
Sweet-Itch pony showing full mane
Sweet itch pony with full mane & tail
Snuggy Bug rugs
Much Repaired Boett Blanket!