Sweet Itch Information
The following are notes and suggestions from the Icelandic Horse email list, and there are a couple of links for additional information below:
The best coal tar shampoos are the ones sold through the catalogs like Omaha
Vaccine or Jeffers or one of the companies that supply dog grooming
needs. Look for shampoos that talk about being anti-seborrheic(sp.). Some
people believe that excess seborrhea (waxy substance secreted by the skin
that blocks the pores) contributes to summer eczema type reactions. It seems
to help horses that have various kinds of itchy reactions.
Whoever it was
that posted this recipe said it was very close to the same ingredients of a
product called "The Missing Link". It is as follows:
1 pound of Kelp (Granulated)
1.5 cups Nutritional Yeast
1.5 cups Shave Grass or Horsetail
2 cups Cattle Minerals
3/4 cup Ground Flax Seed
Also mix in for added flavor and nutrients, Raspberry Leaves - Milk Thistle
- Burdock Root.
I believe it was the Flax Seed that is most important in helping the body
with eczema. I'll let you know how we do this summer. I've got two that
suffer slightly aroung the face and belly mostly. We are also going to use
the Boet Blanket this summer. So far we are just using the Hood and Belly
Band while in pasture.
Flax Seed needs to be ground (some say and cooked, other say no need to cook).
Flax Seed oil is not as potent as the seed.
Linseed comes from flax plants (genus Linum), so linseed is flax seed.
It's rich in phosphorous, and is a relatively good source of B group
vitamins, the oil puts a nice gloss on a horse, and it's a useful feed
for a lean animal.
VERY IMPORTANT: Linseeds contain the enzume linase, which when the
seeds are soaked releases hydrocyanic acid (prussic acid) from a
glycoside present in the seeds. Hydrocyanic acid is toxic, and although
the linase should be inactivated by stomach acids, it's important to
store the seeds properly so they aren't damp, and never feed it if it's
been soaked but not cooked. It's also important to make sure that any
linseed oil, and the left-overs (linseed meal) that you're feeding is
food grade quality - low temperature oil extraction can leave linase
I've always fed it cooked - it absorbs large amounts of water, and forms
a thick jelly or soup that most horses seem to like (smells horrible to
me). I've never used psyllium on my horses (in fact prior to being on
this list I'd never heard of it's use in horses), but the jelly formed
by cooking the linseed is because of the large amounts of mucilage it
contains, which acts as an excellent internal lubricant.
I also feed quite a bit more than a tablespoon, but not as much as some
of my UK friends who feed up to a pound a day per horse. To cook it, I
put about 4oz of seeds in a large heavy pot about half full of water,
bring it to the boil, boil it hard for a few minutes, and then let it
simmer for at least half an hour (preferably an hour or more for a nice
thick gooey mix). It's a bugger for sticking and burning, so you'll
need to stir it occasionally.
You can mix the hot stuff with pelleted feeds or bran to form a mash
that ill horses seem to enjoy.
When I first started using this recipe he had no hair on one side of his
tail. The hair is starting to regrow gradually. It is also brilliant for
soothing the areas where he is very sore from rubbing. The recipe is:
5 drops lavender- Boots the Chemist
5 drops Tea Tree- Boots the Chemist
2 drops Roman Camomile- Aromatherapist
2 drops Yarrow- Aromatherapist
2 drops Garlic (had to buy garlic capsules and take the oil out-) Holland
Add these to 50ml of Aloe Vera gel (I have used a make called Banana Boat
from Superdrug) and apply to the affected area twice a day for no more than
3 weeks. Emily
Possible Benefits of Flax Seed:
The supplementing of flax seed oil will help with many conditions including:
- *clear up skin conditions
- *relieve arthritic and inflammatory pain
- *increase bone strength
- *improved skin and coat condition (decreased dandruff and a beautiful shine
on their coats! Even some dappling)
- *When a pregnant mare was fed flax, her offspring were larger, and grew
faster than when previous to being fed flax
- *within 9 months cracked hooves were completely healed
- *research indicates that horses fed flax and injected with the deadly
organism Escherichia coli were better protected than those not fed flax,
suggesting enhanced immunity in these animals
- *Valuable source of energy (great to feed during the cold months or during
times of stress to prevent weight loss)
- *keeps less desirable saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
- *increases oxygen uptake to the cell
- *decreases recovery time from strenuous exercise
- *Numerous studies conducted on animals and humans show that flax has
powerful anti-tumor properties and may reduce tumor size by 50%.
Ellen's Spray for Sweet itch & Mosquitoes
2 oz. Permethrins
1/2 cup skin so soft (avon)
1/4 cup of Nolvasan (Fort Dodge)
2 Tbsp. Nolvasan Scrub (surgical scrub by Fort Dodge)
Mix all of this together in a gallon milk jug (clean one) and spray nightly
of the horse. It helps fight bacteria and skin problems as well as working
to defray the bugs. Since I have put this together my mare is doing great
and looks great.
I spray this nightly on all the horse because I am afraid it might start in
any of them, so I use this as a deterent. I have tried everything else on
the market for sweet itch and nothing has worked as well as this concoction.
If I miss using it for one night the mare shows signs that she is itching, so
I don't miss a night. This is my own recipe so use at your own risk. But I
have talked to vets and they said that everything I am using will not hurt
the horse and if it works then use it. I also use the surgical scrub to wash
the mare and the horses when bathing. Their coats are quite beautiful.
This year the SE has been much less a problem
for my horse (his third summer with it). I think the ground flax has helped a
great deal and I've reduced the amount of flax I was feeding to 1/3 cup 2X
day. Also have him on a mineral supplement made especially for our geographic
area and also give a homemade version of Missing Link daily. Swat applied
liberally on the underside of the body (a big trouble area for him) is very
helpful and liberal spraying with Clac 86. So far no mane or tail rubbing and
just a few areas of the body that have a fungus-like appearance. I have been
applying a zinc based preparation to these areas that I bought at Equitana
this year. I guess it's a matter of alot of experimentation until you come up
with something that works for your horse.
We have had a very hot, humid summer. My horse was clipped in April and grew his usual
summer coat back, which is longer and thicker than I would like it to be for his comfort in
the heat. His SE flared up in June and I got a fly sheet with a large belly band while at
Equitana (the area where he happens to get alot of sores). It's not a Boett. As he was
very hot under the mesh fly sheet, I decided to body clip him again so he would be more
comfortable while wearing the sheet.
Within 5 days of being body clipped and wearing the fly sheet he was free of any new outbreak
of SE and the old sores were healing fast. Now everything is completely healed and there is
not a sign of any more SE. He had had a small amount on his face, spots on both sides of
his barrel, alot on the chest area and belly. The mane and tail for some reason had not been
too badly rubbed this year. New hair is now growing in the bald spots. The really neat
thing is that the sheet has been off for over a week now and STILL no sign of SE. I fully
expected it to come roaring back when I removed the sheet. We will now wait and watch to see
what happens. Perhaps body clipping the summer coat off and reducing sweating is a help for
him -- has anyone else had this experience? We are still in the worst part of the season for
SE, but I am encouraged.
From: Konstanze Ehlebrecht
"Stroppel, Jasmin" schrieb:
I read an interesting notice in a German horse magazine today. A German
breeder and importer of Icelandic horses claims, he has a way to test out
in Iceland, if a horse gets sweet itch or not. He let them give an injection
of a drug (can't remember the name, but can find out) which lets the horses
sweat very much within a few minutes. He says, those horses which don't
sweat very much after this injection are disposed for sweet itch and that he
has a hit rate of 90% (There was unfortunately no declaration what is meant:
only 10 % of the tested for "good" horses get sweet itch which won't be a
hit rate of 90 % if usually you have a rate of 20-25%, or if 90% of the
tested for "bad" horses get it)
He explains this fact with a much bigger disposal for sweet itch of horses
with less sweat glands. A fact which is helpful in Iceland not to get a cold
> or even pneumonia is a disadvantage in warmer an more humid climate. Of
course he does not deny that the midges are the trigger of the allergic
reaction, but the disposition is given by the lesser sweat glands.
I only have one horse with mild symptoms and I can not say that Sörli is
sweating less than others. So for me it is hard to try to prove this theory
on the living objects. How about you others have you made any observations
which may support this theory?
Of course it would be very helpful to identify such horses in Iceland and
not to export them, which save a lot of sorrow and pain to owner and horse.
ich bin froh, daß Du Dich dazu geäußert hast! Ich habe diesen Artikel auch gelesen (er war, glaube ich, im "Islandpferd") habe aber die
Zeitschrift noch nicht wieder gefunden. (Meine Zeit ist leider in den letzten Monaten in hauchdünne Scheiben geschnitten :(((
Ich finde diese Info sehr interessant, hatte aber die selben Schwierigkeiten mit der Interpretation von "90%" wie Du. Hatte mir auch vorgenommen,
den Autor mal dazu zu befragen. In unserer kleinen Herde in Island haben wir eine Stute, von der ich glaube, daß sie S.E bekommen würde, falls
exportiert. Möglicherweise könnte ich das an dieser Stute mal ausprobieren, obwohl ich etwas zögerlich bin, nur so "zum Spaß" mein Pferd mit einer
Substanz zu traktieren, nur um meine Neugier zu befriedigen!
Auf jeden Fall gehört zu einer Allergie neben dem auslösenden Faktor aber auch noch die Disposition und warum sollte dieser Umstand nicht
ebenfalls begünstigend wirken. Auch "Disposition" ist ja kein absoluter Faktor sonder kann sich auch aus mehren Teilfaktoren zusammensetzen. (Halt
mich bitte nicht für spinnert, aber da beim Menschen ja auch das psychische Strickmuster eine Rolle spielt, hatte ich auch schon mal überlegt,
Besitzer von Ekzemern zu fragen, welche Position in der Hierarchie der Herde ihre Tiere einnehmen.)
Liebe Grüße in die Schweiz,
Konstanze in Köln
I make a rinse, pour over areas that are really making
Making sure it gets down to his skin. Do not rinse out.
Take an inch of fresh rosemary, inch of fresh mint, put it in 4 cups of
boiling water, let it steep until lukewarm, take herbs out, add 1/4 cup good
Do this about once a week.
In my experience, once a horse experiences sweetitch, it comes back
every year and tends to get worse.
For further information:
If you have any additional information
links about Sweet Itch (Summer Eczema),
please let us