Man­ag­ing the prob­lem

Your Horse (UK) - - Horse Care -

Man­ag­ing your horse’s com­fort and well-be­ing is all you can do – but there is hope. “Bio-Plus cap­sules , an im­mune ther­apy prod­uct, help to self-cor­rect the im­mune sys­tem when it’s been com­pro­mised,” ex­plains Ali­son Price, from the Na­tional Sweet Itch Cen­tre. “It may not com­pletely re­lieve the symp­toms, but feed­ing just one tablet a week can lower the sever­ity of a re­ac­tion to a bite and in turn re­duce your horse’s de­sire to itch.” Some vets treat sweet itch by in­ject­ing cor­ti­cos­teroids into the horses’ blood­stream. “Cor­ti­cos­teroids de­press the im­mune sys­tem and bring tem­po­rary re­lief but there can oc­ca­sion­ally be side ef­fects, in­clud­ing lamini­tis,” says Mark, “but don’t rule them out.” “It’s vi­tal to start man­ag­ing the con­di­tion be­fore the midges come out,” adds Ali­son. “This can be as early as mid-Fe­bru­ary. If you can prevent your horse from be­ing bit­ten you stand a much bet­ter chance of con­trol­ling the symp­toms over the fol­low­ing months.” Cur­rently, re­searchers at Bench­mark, who de­velop new vac­cines to keep an­i­mals healthy, are work­ing with the Swiss biotech com­pany Evax AG to de­velop a vac­cine. It’s still in the early stages and the vac­cine needs to be ex­ten­sively tri­alled, but it’s hoped that, if suc­cess­ful, the vac­cine will be avail­able as a treat­ment op­tion in 2020.

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