My itchy horse

About 2

In my last blog I reported how my yearling was itching really badly. At the time I thought this was down to the fact that he was hot, but 2 days later I realised I was wrong. The itch was still there, even though I’d clipped him and taken his rug off. It wasn’t just that he was hot from his big fur coat and a rain sheet after all.  What was it?!

I’d been searching for the reason for weeks. He had been out all summer with no rug and was fine, suddenly he began to itch. He was scratching on everything and when he came into the stable at night, it was awful.  It was so bad that it was driving him (and me) to the point of lunacy, and I watched as his lovely mane and tail started disappearing. He was also rolling so much in the stable that he was getting cast, which was very worrying.

I was home alone one night and he got cast. He may only be 16 months, but he already stands at around 16.1hh. Pulling him over isn’t exactly easy.

At this point I was incredibly grateful that he is so laid back, he didn’t seem at all bothered by my huffing, puffing and pulling. In fact, the cheeky monkey actually tried to have a nip at me, as I was practically lying right on top of  him.  I was trying to get to his front leg beneath him. I had to tie a lead rope around the leg (above the knee) and pull like mad until I got him over. As he dangled upside down, I somehow managed to grab the corresponding back leg and pull on that too. Phew – What a relief when he came over. I think he thought it was all a big joke!!!

When I say he was itchy I really do mean ITCHY – he was now sporting 2 or 3 huge open sores in his mane and on his tail, what was left of them. These were the result of him insatiably rubbing himself on anything he could find.

I spoke to my vet who recommended a Deosect, a lice shampoo.  So, I purchased some of this nasty, toxic shampoo, diluted it as directed and gave him a bath. My normally quiet, amenable youngster proceeded to leap all over the place as this stuff clearly burnt him. The vet had suggested I then leave a more dilute version on his coat. This I didn’t do due to the reaction to the first application. Instead I gave him a good wash to remove it.

The next couple of days he seems a little better. Then the itch was back again……….so I decided to worm him in case he had worms, although my vet was doubtful of this.

I had changed his food, washed him in medicated shampoo, removed his rugs in case it was heat, washed him in lice shampoo, wormed him and he was STILL itching…

At this point I realised that the only other thing that was different was his bedding. At the end of the Summer I had removed all his old straw bedding and replaced it with a lovely fresh bed of wood pellets. So, I removed all the pellet bedding, washed down the stable and put back in place of it a straw bed. I again washed him, but this time in gentle human shampoo Nizoral for itchy scalps. This definitely had a soothing and moisturising affect, so I had my fingers crossed. This was when I really noticed things were settling down, but he still appeared a bit itchy. Then I realised that although I had done everything else to rid the area of the pellet bedding the thin rain sheet he’d had been wearing had not been washed. Perhaps it was like wearing clothing contained itching powder? so off that came.

The conclusion:

My insanely itchy boy is allergic to pine pellet bedding (dust?). I fear that he may also be affected by stable dust, or perhaps the damp, dank conditions we have been having lately. His mane is recovering and apart from the fact he is sporting a great Mohican, it is looking much better. Last week I discovered “Lincoln Antibacterial Green Oil”, which is designed with these conditions in mind. It has soothed and controlled the itching at last.  At approximately £7.50 for 250mls it is good value.  I am also happy to report that his bog brush tail is looking better by the day!

Fingers Crossed.


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