Sunday, August 16, 2009

Itchie Horse Cured!

Old Song - New Words!

This Butt was made for scratching! So that's just what he'd do!

If you weren't payin' attention...this butt would scratch all over you!!!

This butt is normally bald from scratching, but this year, I think we may have found a cure!

I want to know if anyone out there has a horse or knows of one who becomes so miserable in the spring and Summer, that he/she has trouble focusing on anything, except how much they ITCH!

Do you know of horses who scratch and rub themselves raw, rub out patches of hair?

Or what about the horse who will be strolling across the pasture or paddock, and suddenly drop to the ground, then using his front legs, gets into a sitting position and rub, rub, rub his belly on the ground?

My gelding, Danny, would rub his chest between until it callused over with a thickened layer of hide.

Sound familiar?

Since he was about 4 years old (10 now) Danny has been itchy and he'd find a new way to scratch himself with each season of itchiness.

Not only was there a cost to him as far as his sanity, but also the cost of lotions and potions and bath treatments I've tried in my vein attempts to find relief for my boy. Hundreds of dollars were thrown at sprays and chemicals guaranteed to give him relief that probably cost next to nothing to produce.

Many of the product required bathing the horse in them every few days. I have a family, a job, a herd of horses and live in the Pacific NW where the term “sun breaks” was a coined. And they expect mee to bath my horse every few days!

So basically, last year, I just gave up the battle of the itch. I felt bad for him that he was so distressed from Spring until Fall, but I was out of ideas.

I discussed the situation with MANY other owners of horses with his same symptoms. There were as many theories as to what causes this problem, as there are horses that suffer with it. Am I right? Those of you with an itching horse know what I'm talking about.

Allergic to the saliva of midges? Maybe. But who knows for sure.

But Danny didn't itch at all this year! He never dropped, rubbed all his hair out on his butt, never itched until his neck was raw or his chest was callused.

When I realized something had changed about him, that something was missing this summer, at first I thought, hmmm, he must have grown out of it. I've heard of kids with allergies growing out of them and one vet told me early on, that was his problem -- allergies.

Then I remembered something that I did early this year. I treated him for lice! For a couple dollars, I think I fixed his problem.

I noticed Spencer and a few of the other horses itching like crazy this Spring and I got to combing through Spencer’s mane and thought I was seeing lice. I wasn’t sure, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
"Who me? Lice?"
I know a breeder who treats her horses for lice once or twice each year whether they need it or not and when she told me that, I thought – over kill.

Lousy horses are nearly unheard of these days and doesn’t treating a horse with ivermectin for worms take care of lice? That’s what we’re told, but somehow I don’t think that’s true in all cases.

I treated Spencer and all the other horses according to the directions and all the horses seemed to experience some sort of relief from itching. You have to be careful to get their forelock treated though, or if your horse has bugs, they will migrate to whatever part of their forelock, mane or tail, that you didn’t treat and will drive the horse nuts in that one spot.

The treatment instructions call for treating all your livestock, 3 times, 10 days apart. That is going to be a part of my horsecare regime once a year no matter what. Mainly because equines come and go on my property.

So did Danny have lice? I don’t know. He has black mane and tail and you’d think I would have noticed at some point in his 10 year of life. I found them on Spencer who has nearly white mane.

These guys live right next door to my horses. Could lice be transmitted from cows to horses? I don't know.

So I’m wondering if there is something about the lice dusting powder that treated whatever it was he did have.

Whatever it was, he’s much calmer now that he can think about other things in the Spring and Summer besides how much he itches.

Water fun with the kids!

A few of my itchy horse customers are trying the lice powder and are going to report back to me. So I’ll update you on the experiment.

If you have an itchy horse and try treating them with the delousing powder, please send me your results. And remember not to expect lasting results until after the 3rd treatment.

I have a feeling you have to use it before the itchy season starts for it to be effective. So if it doesn’t work this year, try applying in February or March of next year.

Let me know how it works. And if that song gets stuck in your're welcome:-)

Note: The product that I use is Horse Lice Duster III, by Farnam which contains Permethrin.

Don't try to sprinkle the powder from the top of the can. All you get is a mist that you end up breathing. Use gloves and a face mask and pull the plug from the bottom of the can, dump powder into your hand and rub it into your horse starting at the forelock and working your way back to and into the tail. Then from the chest along his stomach to his other business.

If weather permits, cover your horse with a sheet for a few days to keep him from getting powder him his mouth, although, I doubt that a small amount would hurt a horse, and I didn't use a facemask, but the powder doesn't taste very good.

I just used this on another itchie horse and she's itch free too! She just seems so much more relaxed and happy. It's amazing. Again, I don't believe she had lice, but I do know this powder also treats other parasites including, but not limited to, fleas, ticks and those small annoying face flies.

1 comment:

Leah Fry said...

Thanks for this post, this will be the next thing I try. Come over to my blog to see photos of what my poor Arabian has done to himself. I just got some new stuff today from the vet to try, called Genesis. It's for dogs, but I'll try anything. This year is the worst I have ever seen him.