The UK’s first Sweet Itch Awareness Month takes place throughout April to highlight the serious and distressing condition which can be a major welfare concern and is known to affect three to five per cent of horses in the UK.
A joint initiative between Janssen Animal Health, the British Horse Society (BHS), Redwings Horse Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare, the campaign will highlight the preventative measures that should be carried out to help alleviate sweet itch and the importance of management of the condition before the start of the midge season in the spring.
Helen Goldberg, marketing manager at Janssen Animal Health, said: “Summer skin conditions, such as sweet itch, can be difficult and frustrating to manage and they are often a real challenge for horse owners.
“Sweet Itch Awareness Month will boost awareness of all aspects of this condition and other summer allergies and highlight the preventative measures that can help sufferers.”
The management and prevention of sweet itch should include moving the horse away from standing water and boggy land, stabling at morning and dusk and the use of fly repellents.
The most effective fly protection for horses out at grass are light rugs and hoods which can cover all the areas of the horse susceptible to bites.
The company suggests the use of its products, which it says are easy-to-administer skincare products to help maintain a healthy skin in horses prone to summer skin allergies.
Cavalesse is a natural food supplement containing a specialised formulation of water-soluble vitamins and minerals, including nicotinamide.
Once a month the contents of each sachet are simply dissolved in water to form an oral solution, which can be administered daily via a special pipette, either by sprinkling over a small handful of feed or adding to a treat.
The supplement helps horses maintain a healthy skin and promotes normal immune function.
Cavalesse Topical is a skincare gel that can be used in combination with the Cavalesse solution.
The gel can be applied to the skin to help support natural immunity from the outside, whilst the oral solution works in partnership from the inside.
Lee Hackett, head of welfare at the BHS said: “Time and time again we come across horses that are suffering with sweet itch, it is a horrible condition that can be extremely distressing for horses and their owners.
“We are supporting the initiative because we firmly believe that knowledge and education are the key to preventing sweet itch.”
For further information on Sweet Itch Awareness Month, Cavalesse and Cavalesse Topical, visit www.fidavet.com or contact your local veterinary practice.