Protect Your Horse from Midges with a Sweet Itch Blanket

Find out how these special blankets keep bugs off your horse and prevent a frustrating skin condition.
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Protect Your Horse from Midges with a Sweet Itch Blanket
Photo: Courtesy Dr. Marianne Sloet

Although summer is winding down in some parts of the country, insect-sensitive horses might still be battling bugs. For the particularly reactive horse, a “sweet itch blanket” can provide some relief.

The spoke with world-renowned sweet itch specialist and researcher, professor Marianne Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECEIM, Specialist KNMvD Equine Internal Medicine, from the Department of Equine Sciences at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, to make sure you’re “covered” from head to toe on what you need to know about sweet itch blankets. What is sweet itch?
Marianne Sloet: Sweet itch—also known as summer eczema, seasonal equine dermatitis, or more accurately, insect-bite hypersensitivity—is an allergic skin reaction to the saliva of the Culicoides biting midge. Horses with this condition suffer from severe itch throughout the active midge season—usually from about April to September

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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