Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Itchin' All Over

Poor Silkie! She is going nuts with the itching. I’ve started her on hydroxyzine which gives her some relief, but the gnats and midges still bite her. I wash her with warm water twice a day and put aloe on her belly and under her tail and on the base of her mane and her neck and back. Some days, she breaks out in hives the size of quarters all over her neck and back. The fly sheet doesn’t help, and it’s too hot. She’s rubbed her belly so bad.

Monday, I tried to put a saddle on her so my 9 year old niece could go for a ride. My daughter managed one turn around the arena before Silk started bucking and kicking herself in the belly. I took off the saddle, and we were going to try it bareback to see if that would avoid rubbing. No way -- Silk started bucking before I could even lift the child up on her back. I felt so bad for my niece, who had never been on a horse and was dying to ride. But I felt worse for my dear horse, who has never done anything like that before. I knew how miserable she was.

So, I’m going to try adding garlic granules to her feed in hopes that the insects won’t think she’s so tasty. I also found this herb mixture made by Hilton Herbs for “sweet itch”. I’m going to order that. If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know. The strange thing is that last year, Siete was the one who was the target of all the insects. We aren’t having any fly problems, fortunately. The pollen is so thick that everyone is sneezing like crazy, and we don’t usually have allergies. I’ve got something bumpy on my right arm that is also itching non-stop, but it’s too early for poison ivy.

The weather is gorgeous, and I’d love to ride Silk but not until she’s more comfortable. One good thing is that our horses' “golden nugget” compost has made our garden even more beautiful than usual. The Japanese irises are really incredible this year.


the7msn said...

All I can offer is my empathy ... Lyle' allergies are of the non-itching variety. Poor Silk – and I know you're just as miserable, not being able to provide her with more relief. If you want to beam her over to New Mexico til allergy season is over, she's more than welcome!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Hi Victoria,
Poor Silk. I can recommend a few things but don't know if they will help.
This is a big problem in the uk, and they make special rugs for horses with the allergy. There are some management solutions (like getting rid of the muck heap and water, and spraying to kill bugs...)
Also you can check out these sites and see if there is something you can use.
My daughter sent me the above sites.
The only other thing I can think of for immediate help might be to use Avon's Skin So Soft. It does help as a fly spray and might help with gnats and other bugs. It couldn't hurt to try it. Good Luck and I hope Silk feels better soon.

Pony Girl said...

I am sorry to hear that Silk is so bothered and itchy! She was definitely not feeling herself is she was stomping and bucking. It reminds me of my gelding's bug irritation and his odd headshaking behaviors. I saw a new fly mask in the latest Smart Pak Equine catalog that I might order. Let me know how the garlic works! I have not tried that yet. I hope you get some good tips here in the comments. I will check back, too!

billie said...

I'm sorry to read that Silk is having such a rough time with the itching. :/

Is it possible the hives and some of the itching are a response to something other than the gnats/midges?

The only additional thing I can think of is to get a homeopathic consult to see if that might be helpful. Depending how irritated the skin is, I'd be tempted to try a stronger fly spray temporarily to see if indeed stopping the bites stops all the itching/hives.

Every year I consider feeding a garlic supplement but thus far haven't done so. I'd love to know how it works for Silk if you try it. My primary defense against the biting insects is switching to night-time turn-out when the days get hot. Here, the biting insects are worst from late morning until dusk. If the horses are in stalls/paddocks during those hours, with fans, they seem to fare better. That said, I haven't done the switch yet - but it's near time to do it!

Sending good thoughts to Silk for quick relief.

Anonymous said...

Be careful with the garlic as I know it can cause kidney problems, at least with dogs.

My horse also has terrible allergies to bugs but I have found this ointment, Deo Gel, that is really working to keep the gnats off him. Normally his chest and ears are covered with crusty blood bites and huge welts from those nasty things. This stuff is really good at keeping them away. It's all natural. It's not cheap, but if it keeps my horse comfortable, it's worth it me. I order mine from Dover Saddlery, not sure where else it might be. I don't know how it's going to work on the other flies that come out later in the season, but, we'll see.

Good luck.


M. C. Valada said...


I too want to suggest that it might be something more than just the gnats, because one of the other horses Gayle trains was breaking out in hives and they finally figured out she was allergic to the alfalfa she was being fed.

You might want to try giving Silk vinegar every day. I give it to Ace as a preventative to keep stones from forming (Arabs are prone to them, especially in SoCal, according to my vet), but it also seems to help keep the bugs away. He gets a cup a day mixed in with about a pound and a half of Safe Choice, and he loves it.


Rising Rainbow said...

Oh poor girl, that sounds absolutely horrible. I hope the hilton herbs work. I really like their products.

Your garden is absolutely gorgeous. Mine right now is still full of weeds.