Sweet itch horse medicine dr. Michutta matting

At the time of purchase, according to the owner's information, no skin diseases were detected, except for a larger scar in the area of the withers. The horse was imported from Iceland three months before.

Clinical examination

In the area of the mane crest (Fig.1), the tail rump (fig.2), in the underarm area (Fig.3) and in the area of the croup several diseased skin areas were visible.

The affected areas were characterized by increased skin scaling, superficial abrasions, hair breakage, hair loss and especially in the area of the mane crest by an excessive. The skin is highly sensitive. The Icelandic gelding suffers from massive itching.

There is a large scar in the area of the withers.

sweet itch equine medicine dr. michutta matting

sweet itch horse medicine dr. michutta matting

Laboratory diagnostic examination

Both the examination for fungi and the examination for parasites were negative.

Imaging examination


X-ray examination of the withers revealed two small fracture fragments that were displaced. Another fracture fragment was not displaced. Bone formations were visible on two other thoracic vertebrae.


– Sweet itch (hypersensitivity reaction to insect bites) – Fracture fragments in the thoracic vertebral region

Therapy of sweet itch in horses

The owner will receive the following therapy and aftercare instructions:


The horse should only be Eczema blanket (which also covered the head and belly) should be let out into the pasture. In addition, an insect spray containing pyrethroid (active ingredient pyrethroid makes the insects immobile) with a repellent effect (repellent effect on insects, e.g., insect repellent) should be used.B. Centaura, Wellcare etc.) can be applied. Also the nightly grazing has been shown to be beneficial in some animals. The horse should be stabled during the main flight phase of the insects.

Horse riding

The Icelandic gelding should be ridden daily.

Feeding in sweet itch

The horse should be fed a diet low in cereals, low in protein and high in roughage. As a rule, feeding hay alone is sufficient. Grazing by the hour (not longer than 4 hours). In addition, a supplementary feed containing trace elements, which is rich in bioavailable Zinc, manganese and biotin is to be fed.

Caution with moldy hay! Horses with sweet itch can also be allergic to mold spores. Therefore please pay attention to perfect feed quality!


As a medicinal therapy would be a creeping Cortisone therapy possible to reduce the itching. However, in rare cases laminitis can be observed as a side effect of this therapy.

Local application of ichtyol preparations has proven helpful in some cases.


A Allergy test (cell stimulation test: FIT test or Equine Cast test) can confirm the diagnosis of sweet itch (hypersensitivity to insect bites).

General information about sweet itch in horses

Sweet itch is primarily an allergic reaction to the bite of the Culicoides mosquito

Due to the triggered itching, scratching or rubbing of the horse leads to severe injuries of the skin as well as to hypersensitivity.

A few years ago, it mainly affected robust breeds, but at present it also affects warm-blooded horses, but rather rarely sport horses and racehorses.

Sweet itch is a multifactorial process, in which the influencing factors of lack of exercise and nutrient oversupply, as well as trace element deficiency, also play a role. Studies have shown that the degree of disease is reduced by zinc supplementation and by Avoidance of protein oversupply significantly reduce read. To realize this the animals should do not ingest grass for more than four hours a day. Concentrate feeding should be avoided.

The most important factor in the therapy is the avoidance of the cause. In order to identify the specific trigger, a cell stimulation test (allergy test) be carried out.

Horses must be treated with pyrethroids, eczema blankets, night grazing u.a. be protected from insect bites.

Ichtyol preparations and urea preparations are suitable as local therapy. Some patients tolerate oily-based products poorly, so it is better to use aqueous-based products.

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