Summer Equine Dermatitis

Sweet itch is one of several seasonal allergies that a horse might encounter.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

As a modern term, "sweet" denotes pleasure and enjoyment. But for a horse, sweet itch is anything but sweet.

"Sweet itch, also known as summer eczema or equine dermatitis, is one of several seasonal allergies that your horse may encounter," notes Glennon Mays, DVM, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

"Equine dermatitis can have varying causes," explains Mays. "Allergens may irritate your horse’s skin, but viruses and bacteria might also manifest themselves as dermatitis. These foreign agents can cause inflammatory conditions in the skin and may affect your horse’s hair coat. Equine sweet itch is a seasonal allergic skin condition that can be caused by fly bites or midge bites. Horses that suffer from sweet itch have developed an allergy to these bites."

Insects flourish in the summer, and horses can have sensitivities to insect bites, notes Mays. In particular, black flies (also known as buffalo gnats) are known to seek out horses as hosts. These flies feed on mammals’ blood and are attracted to hosts by smell, heat, and sight. They prefer to feed on the host’s head, hair, and ears but will also bite any exposed skin

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What lameness issues has your horse experienced? Select all that apply.
231 votes · 458 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!