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Sweet Itch Management: How To Manage Sweet Itch In Horses

What Is Sweet Itch In Horses And How Can Horse Skin Supplements Help?

An increase in biting insects this time of year, along with other environmental factors that act as irritants to horses, they often need additional support for their coat and skin such as a horse skin supplement. According to World Horse Welfare, sweet itch in horses is one of the most common allergic skin diseases in the UK, affecting around 5% of the equine population. Sweet itch in horses is an allergic reaction to the protein in the saliva contained in bites from mosquitoes and midges and can affect any horse or pony, although it has been found to be more prevalent in some native breeds.

Generally, at its worst between March and November, sweet itch in horses often shows itself in the form of more intense itching, consistent tail swishing, excessive rolling and can result in hair loss, inflamed skin which can become crusty and sore and can as a result become infected. It is likely that a horse with sweet itch will show a change in behaviour as well, often becoming restless, lacking concentration, shaking their head, or in some cases appear lethargic. Sweet itch in horses is a hereditary condition, presenting typically in a horse's second or third summer and subsequently worsening with age. There is unfortunately no cure and treatment aimed at preventing or reducing exposure of the horse to the biting midge and reducing the reaction but there are horse skin supplements such as TurmerItch that’s been proven to help.

A horse itching itself as a result of sweet itch

How can sweet itch in horses be managed?

The main aim for managing sweet itch in horses is to increase the threshold at which the condition negatively affects the horse. For example, how tolerant a horse’s immune system is to the proteins within the midge’s saliva will determine how severe an allergic reaction is and ultimately how bad secondary issues are such as infections from broken skin.

There are several stable management changes according to the British Horse Society that can be made to help your horse with sweet itch, such as using a sweet itch rug, and changing turnout routines. Midges thrive in warm, moist conditions and require a source of water for their egg, larval and pupa developmental life stages. As a result, avoid turning horses out in hot, humid conditions, especially near water as this is where the midges thrive. It is also important to poo-pick regularly and keep the muck heap a good distance from grazing and stabling areas. Windy locations are good for turnout because the midges are poor fliers.

A horse in water itching itself as a result of sweet itch

Prep, prime and prevent with a horse skin supplement

Managing sweet itch in horses from the inside out with a horse itchy skin supplement is also an effective way to soothe the itch. Nutritionally, Turmeric is a great ingredient to add to your horse’s diet, which is why The Golden Paste Company has created TurmerItch, an itchy skin supplement for horses. Not all Turmeric is the same though – the yellow powder can vary dramatically in quality and in its natural form, it is not palatable, can be messy to feed and not all of the nutrients within it can be absorbed by the horse’s body without being combined with other ingredients. Curcumin, as one of over 200 compounds within Turmeric, is the main active ingredient in Turmeric. It is a strong antioxidant and has a metabolic effect in the natural inflammation cycle of the body’s defence mechanisms. The Golden Paste Company source their Turmeric from organic and experienced local farmers in East Java. Turmeric grown in these parts of Indonesia is certified organic and is the highest strength you will find anywhere in the world; it is even sold to India due to its higher potency.

An old man picking up turmeric from the ground

TurmerItch is not just turmeric. The horse itchy skin supplement contains Red Bush Tea which provides antioxidants and helps dry, itchy and irritated skin along with Chamomile powder which calms nerves and reduces stress. The unique combination of ingredients within TurmerItch helps to soothe the skin to reduce itching, helps to repel biting insects and also improves skin and coat health and well as promoting hair regrowth. The range of antioxidants in the Turmeric horse skin supplement help to mediate the stress factors within the horse that lead to inflammatory responses, which ultimately lead to further itching. Omega-3 Oils and Vitamin E within the supplement have a repellent effect, because when the body responds to these irritants, it secretes sebum from the glands at the base of hair follicle which forms a protective barrier, using these essential oils to maintain skin integrity.

Golden Paste Company's Turmer-Itch

It doesn’t stop there…

In addition to sweet itch, this itchy skin supplement for horses can support with other inflammatory responses, such as when allergens are inhaled. It comes back to the tolerance of the horse’s body to deal with allergens, the threshold of which has been shown to increase when a feed supplement like TurmerItch is added to the diet. Furthermore, Turmeric for horses can also be extremely beneficial for muscle recovery, joint function, optimising the efficiency of the metabolism and insulin sensitivity to promote general well-being over the lifetime of the horse.

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Our customers are best placed to tell you why they use TurmerItch, Louise George says

“I have looked into getting each of the ingredients, but I just don’t have time to order all the bits and measure them out and check I’m getting it all right each day. TurmerItch makes it really easy to feed the right proportions. She is significantly less itchy, especially around the face which suffered badly last year as she won’t tolerate a fly mask and destroys them to get them off.”


Find out more about how Turmeric can benefit your horse by reading our blog or find out where you can purchase our products locally by finding your local stockist.

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