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Help With Equine Skin Problems
Equine Skin Problems: Some horses become itchy without having true “Sweet Itch”. The cause is often hard to pinpoint, but it could be brought about by overheating, seasonal coat changes, too much protein or sugars, hormonal imbalances, sensitivity to flies and their bite, something ingested or an environmental factor they have come into contact with (pollens, plants or bedding). More specific seasonal itching might indicate a pollen (or even chemical spray) problem, whilst all year round itching may indicate they are exposed to the allergen constantly. Certain liver conditions and other diseases such as Cushings can also bring about itchiness, so if you are concerned about any aspect of your horse’s health, do contact your vet. Coloured horses do appear to be more prone to skin problems and we would recommend a test patch for all externals.
This can appear as an overall itchiness, other times horses get raised lumps/nettle rashes over parts of their body (urticaria). Horses can have sensitivity to chemicals used in washing powder, tack cleaners, shampoos, conditioners, fly sprays, clipper oil, so this is worth investigating. Although unusual, horses may suddenly develop Sweet Itch, a sensitivity to the midge bite, classically rubbing their mane/tail.
Encouraging a healthy lymphatic system helps to remove toxins which have not been cleared properly and support of the filtration systems ie liver, kidneys and skin, may help. There are herbs which can assist the lymphatic system such as our Cleaver & Marigold mix, but movement is essential to keep this system functioning correctly, so some form of daily turnout is vital, taking all necessary precautions eg fly rugs.
With skin problems it is often difficult to say which Hilton Herb supplement might be the most effective. Our Bye Bye Itch would be ideal for seasonal allergies with reaction to bites and we also produce a Bye Bye Lotion to use externally too. For true hives/urticaria or other lymphatic problems consider Cleaver & Marigold.
You could look to a more natural herbal vitamin and mineral supplement such as Herb Power or Hoof & Health (blend of seaweeds and rosehip) : either of these might help improve a poor or washed out coat. Owners often feed separate Garlic, rich in sulphur/ B Vitamins, that may help deter insects and parasites.
Some customers have found either of our DeTox range beneficial for a variety of skin problems, giving for a month or so before going onto Bye Bye Itch, Herb Power or Hoof & Health. The herbs support the main filtration systems: liver, kidneys, lymphatics, encouraging the expulsion of toxins. It is ideal as a spring or autumn tonic when the coats change and often feeding regimes and/or turnout changes occur. For horses prone to repeated infections, choose an echinacea based immune supplement such as one of our Equimmune range which also includes cleaver, nettle and rosehip.
Dried mixes take up to 3 weeks for full absorption, Gold liquids are initially more quickly absorbed in around 7 to 10 days. A litre should last most horses one month and a kilo approx 20 to 30 days depending on height. With a variety of conditions especially long standing ones, do allow a good four to six weeks for benefits to be seen.
Externally for itchy or inflamed areas, you could apply our Phytobalm, a soothing cream containing herbs such as Calendula, Hypericum, Shea Butter, Myrrh, Honey and Tea Tree that can be used on hot spots, irritations and minor cuts/wounds. Our shampoos include antiseptic Coal Tar, Neem & Tea Tree. For a wash, our Herbalist recommends adding cooling and astringent Witch Hazel or Aloe Vera, but do be careful on sore patches. The Bach Flower Remedy Crab Apple is the cleansing remedy and Cherry Plum is useful for destructive behaviour due to insects: give internally or add drops into a wash.