Skin allergies are in the spotlight as Peter Green MRCVS rounds up the latest research news
Sweet itch – now termed insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) – is a long-term, seasonal skin disease caused by an allergy to the saliva of biting midges and other flies. Severe irritation can make affected horses and ponies scratch and rub themselves to the point of bleeding.
Keeping the midges away with full body rugs is one answer, but these may be problematic in hot climates. Steroid injections, tablets and creams can relieve the signs, but have potentially serious side effects. Other solutions include using industrial fans to blow midges away, grazing affected horses on breezy hillsides to reduce midge biting and using chemical repellents.