Sweet itch

EQUUS - - Prevention -

Def­i­ni­tion: Tech­ni­cally known as equine in­sect hy­per­sen­si­tiv­ity (EIH), sweet itch is an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to the saliva of bit­ing in­sects, most of­ten the Culi­coides species of midges and gnats. Signs: in­tense itch­i­ness, wheals and swelling, pri­mar­ily on the neck (un­der the mane), face, shoul­ders, withers, belly and rump (over the tail). The skin may be rubbed un­til it is crusty, weepy, raw and hair­less. Lo­ca­tion of the le­sions may de­pend on the spe­cific species of gnat; most pre­fer to bite on the neck and along the to­pline, but some tar­get the chest, belly, tail and groin. Di­ag­no­sis: Skin scrap­ings and cul­tures may be needed to dis­tin­guish EIH from other causes of itchy der­mati­tis, such as mites, lice and fun­gal in­fec­tions. Treat­ment: An­ti­his­tamines or cor­ti­cos­teroids may help ease the itch and in­flam­ma­tion, pro­vid­ing re­lief to the itchy y horse; an­tibi­otics or an­timi­cro­bial sham­poos can help pre­vent sec­ondary in­fec­tions. Pen­tox­i­fylline can be used to de­crease skin re­ac­tiv­ity, and in some cases al­lergy serum is worth try­ing.

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