Sweet Itch - Not so sweet for the horses

Culicoides Hypersensitivity aka Sweet Itch

Sweet Itch is anything but sweet. Here at HorseWorld we are starting to treat our horses and ponies that are allergic to midge saliva. We start treating for Sweet Itch as soon as the spring grass is starts to come through and the temperature is slowly increasing.


Dawn and dusk are the times midges are their most active. We have a lot of empathy for horses and ponies that are cursed with this misery so we do our utmost to ensure we treat and manage this condition the best we can.

We use a weekly treatment called Switch which is a pour on treatment from our vets and repels the midges. We also use all sorts of lotions and potions to soothe the itch. The ponies favourite at the moment is called Itchagon. We also use fly spray citronella or DEET and these with the lotions are applied daily.

We have every type of Sweet Itch rug and fly mask that is on the market. A lot of our rugs get ripped because of the itching problem. So we always need new Sweet Itch rugs and volunteers to sew up the old ones.

The field that the Sweet Itch ponies live in is so important if the ponies have the same dietary requirements they can live together. The field has to be electrified and have no shelter so they can't use the shelter or the fence line to rub on. Don't worry our horses can shelter from the summer sun with the natural hedge lines and overhanging trees. The field is cleared of droppings every day to keep the midges at bay.


Once the midge bites the pony will rub themselves raw over and over again until they bleed. They rub all their hair off until they are bald. They will find anything to kill the itch from their feet up to their ears, scooting along on their bellies, mutual grooming, wheelbarrows, stones, sticks anything! By this point, they are desperate which is why it’s so important to stop the midges biting in the first place.

Just remember the next time you get an insect bite and you can't get to it you can't soothe it or you can't treat it. Please help our Sweet Itch ponies this summer by donating towards their rugs and treatments.


Article by: Caroline Beek

Posted on: 4th April 2018