Treating and Preventing Sweet Itch
What Is Sweet Itch?
Sweet Itch is a hypersensitive allergic reaction in the horse’s skin caused from the saliva in biting Culicoides midges. The allergic reaction works by white blood cells releasing chemicals in response to the midge’s saliva causing the horse’s skin to become inflamed and itchy. The horse will bite and rub the affected areas in an attempt to relieve the itching, but it will lead to further damage which could be hair loss, dandruff, lesions or a bacterial infection. Sweet Itch is very similar to the way some people would have a reaction to some allergens and some wouldn’t, meaning some horses are more sensitive to midge saliva than others. The areas of the horse’s body commonly affected include the mane and tail, legs, ears and stomach.
Sweet Itch is largely a seasonal condition as midges do not fly in strong winds or heavy rain, but like damp, humid conditions. They will appear throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn months, but may be active all year if the weather conditions are suitable. Midges are normally active during dawn or dusk when it is not too bright or dry out.
It is very important to effectively treat Sweet Itch remembering, prevention is always better than cure.
The Sweet Solution
Killitch is a veterinary licenced product (AVM-GSL) which means it has undergone rigorous testing for safety, efficacy and quality. The active ingredient is Benzyl Benzoate 25% w/v which is the optimum amount to effectively treat and prevent Sweet Itch. Killitch works by affecting the nervous system of the midge, killing it instantly before it can bite the horse. The product’s formulation is a soothing lotion specially created for horses to provide immediate relief from inflammation and irritation available in 500ml and 1L sizes. Killitch can be used to prevent or treat Sweet Itch.
Kill That Itch
Apply 75ml of Killitch to all of the affected areas by rubbing in with fingers, a soft cloth or by using a syringe to squeeze on. We recommend using gloves with Killitch as it has got an active ingredient. The use of a syringe will allow accurate quantities to be applied. The initial application of Killitch to treat Sweet Itch should be made twice daily, reducing to once daily and then 3-4 times a week as the irritation lessens. Improvement is seen in the horse’s skin within 2 weeks.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Preventing Sweet Itch before it arrives is a much more preferable option than treating it for your horse. The use of Killitch in early Spring before Sweet Itch symptoms become evident will prevent it taking hold. We recommend using Killitch once weekly from the end of March until the end of October to keep Sweet Itch at bay for horses which suffer from it normally.
Clean areas affect with Sweet Itch by washing with Gallop Medicated Shampoo to ensure no bacteria enters lesions. The Medicated Shampoo contains essential, soothing and conditioning ingredients Triclosan, Chlorhexidine, Tea Tree and Aloe Vera. Use Gallop shampoo once a week or after heavy exercise, and then reapply Killitch.
Add an extra layer of protection from midges and flies with our Flygard Extra Strength Insect Repellent, available in 500ml and 1L. The Repellent contains DEET at an optimum level of 20%, for effective, long lasting protection against flies.
*Always do a patch test