It is now one week after my mares second DD. She is much less sensitive and her coat is starting to look way better. There are still some lumps under her skin but she does not appear to be digging! I will follow up with monthly ivermectin throughout the summer.
Thank you ChocoMare. This thread has been a life saver! Had I not stumbled across this forum as I desperately searched for an answer to "sweet itch" I may not have kept this mare. I was sure she would never make it literally living in the swamp. We appear to be turning the corner.
If the ivermectin doesn't continue to work I may just try the BLUE POP ROCKS. They seem to work on everything else!
Okay after reading the first few pages, then realizing there were 76 !!!! pages total, I am SO creeped out, and feel the need to DD my horse like, yesterday.
It has been years since I've heard of sweet itch, and I never really knew what caused it. Aha, I have been educated! My gelding isn't very itchy, but he has a "eh" coat (that is coming in different shades from his body clip last month..oiy), some small bumps along his topline, and a couple "moles" on his body as well.
Just to be on the safe side, I will be DD him with Equimax as soon as the shipment arrives. Amazing how much cheaper it is online than in tack stores.
I have always given him the full tube of wormer, even though he weighs in around 950lbs. Would two tubes cause him to keel over? I read several posts that say wormer is tested up to like, 4x the suggested amount? I'd rather give him a little extra than not enough.
I am so glad I re-read this thread! I've been faithfully following protocol until this year - life blew up and things kind of fell behind. Then my mare started having major eye drainage and itchies on the neck again. Hmmm...I totally forgot that the NTW can affect the eyes too! Off to the store!
“Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.” ~Emerson
In all of my years I have never had to deal with this.
This time last year horse was missing most of his fur from nose to belly. Lots of lumps. Huge crust across his belly and hyper reactive to touch. Fur was blotched. Some white spots and areas.
Horse is 10 year old liver chestnut Qh that is utterly brilliant.
Had it all cleared up over the winter and just this week started itching his face causing small sores. Bronners soap on his belly stopped a crust from forming but he has now developed "rain rot" like symptoms on his hind legs. Horse is not out in the rain or dew and tall grass. He is shiny, shiny gorgeous except for his midsection which looks dry and dead. Bumps starting to appear on shoulders and neck. Hyper-reactivity has returned. Blotchy oily fur thing going on. Has been on allergy shots for months.
Called vet and met with owner to try the Equimax. Vet approved as did owner. Fingers crossed I can catch this just as it starts before it really gets going.
Horse is turned out in a fly sheet except for a brief period for rolling and such. Today, he was itching, not rolling. No other horse has these symptoms.
Fingers crossed this will work.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
? Albert Einstein
After following this thread for several years, I have decided to give this treatment a try. I am not 100% that my mare has all the symptoms for NTW. But she is insanely itchy - she has rubbed herself raw and bloody on her shoulders and neck. The rest of her coat looks quite pretty. Sadly, this is not the first time she has done this. We have this battle every year from May - September. Last year, I thought that I finally had it under control with depo-medrol and malaseb shampoo. But no, she has rubbed herself raw despite my attempts to be proactive and get ahead of the itch.
The vet was dismissive of this idea - he says that parasites should be year round and my horse does not have this problem in the winter months. In fact, her coat is shiny and velvet-y in winter. This is the part where it doesn't seem to line up with NTW? But I'm going to give this a try and see what happens. The one summer this was less of an issue, I power packed her. It doesn't seem like panacur and equimax target the same worms, but maybe there is some connection. Please keep your fingers crossed.
... he says that parasites should be year round and my horse does not have this problem in the winter months. In fact, her coat is shiny and velvet-y in winter. This is the part where it doesn't seem to line up with NTW?
Actually it does line up. The warm weather brings out the gnats, which brings out the microfilaria, which brings out the itchies.
Regardless, it won't hurt to try and just might help
<>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.
For those of you that have tried this, do you ride your horses after the first DD? Or the second? Or do you give them time off?
My only similar experience with something like this is power pack, when I would do a very short walking only trail ride. She needed about 3 days after the power pack before she could really work again.
Actually it does line up. The warm weather brings out the gnats, which brings out the microfilaria, which brings out the itchies.
My take is a little different. I do believe there should be some symptoms year round.
The itchiness from onchocerciasis is from the microfilariae migrating from the adults to the skin. This occurs all year long. If gnat season triggers the itchiness, I believe you are probably, at a minimum, also dealing with sweet itch (allergy to the gnat saliva).
I do think there is merit in the "threshold" theory. I think most of these horses (like people) are sensitive to many things and the other seasonal allergens, added to the sweet itch, and the hypersensitivity to NTW, just put the system over the edge causing major problems in the summer.
Personally, I think it's ill-advised to routinely double-dose with wormer. And there is no research to suggest it is any more effective than a single dose for this problem.
Shipley, I don't know the answer to your question, but if you haven't already read in this thread, you should be prepared for the itching to get much worse for up to 72 hours after worming (assuming oncho is a problem). Possibly an over the counter antihistamine, like histall, might be beneficial prior to worming. Also, be aware that a horse that really does have oncho, may experience some eye issues after worming, in which case I'd call the vet to take a look just to be sure. Onchocerca is also linked to uveitis so you want to handle it carefully if you're convinced it's a problem.
Thank you ChocoMare and Rbow. I have read through this pretty thoroughly and will be prepared with benadryl just in case she does get itchier.
I've updated my blog with some recent pictures of her latest incident: http://lmayhew.wordpress.com/2012/05...-allergies-11/
The pictures are a little gross and considering that she did this a week AFTER I gave her a shot of depo-medrol, you'll see why I am feeling a bit desperate.
Thanks, Rbow. I think that you hit the nail on the head - I need a vet who is more interested in this issue. My plan is to try the double dose and if that doesn't help, we are off to Texas A&M to see a dermatological specialist.
It's taken me a while to update my progress with Saadi - I have just given him a third DD today - the reason being - there was improvement with the second DD - but in the last two weeks he had become itchy again around the midline and face.
I noticed some of the lumps he had disappeared after the doses and he became more content - however even though it is almost winter here, the midges are still around. And I guess where there are midges there will be NTW.
I will continue with a regular SD after this and see what happens.
As it has been wet here, the midges may continue through winter - so I can see why a regular dose is recommended.
Well, fingers crossed! After spending so much time and money on herbs, seeds, oils, lotions and potions I'm cautiously optimistic that this may be the problem!
PS. My horses LOVE Equimax and fight over who gets wormed first!
I just joined this forum as I stumbled upon this thread and have been reading for 3 days! I have 2 Shetland/Welsh ponies that were rescued from a situation where they received no human contact and certainly no worming or other care for their first 1-2 years of their lives. They are full sisters, supposedly, and 1 year apart. I have had them for two years, have wormed them of course on a typical rotational schedule, but most likely under dosed. They have not been power packed, but will be once I'm through this whole protocol, perhaps this fall. Anyway, the older mare has terrible skin issues, diagnosed as sweet itch by my vet, I will detail below. The younger mare was nearly club footed (I say nearly because we never x-rayed, so unsure of actual angles), but at the very least was contracted and had very high angles on her front hooves. Farrier work has corrected this for the most past, although her angles are no perfect. She also has a short choppy stride, and has been difficult to work into flexing at the poll and lateral bends. So here's my case studies:
1.) Sasha-4 year old Shetland/Welsh. 10.2HH and 650lbs. Gets terrible "summer itch" during midge season (we live in a VERY midge infested place). Ventral line itching, scabbing, crustiness, rubs mane and tail raw. Lump near umbilicus that is not a hernia. Skin gets scurfy and flaky every year about the same time, late summer. Rubs face raw every year, heals over winter, cycle repeats. Two quarter sized lesions, one under jaw and one just below that on neck that looked like ringworm but did not respond to treatment. Went away when weather turned cold as well. Cresty neck with odd "lump" on L side. Cannot even drive this mare at all during bug season: anxious, head tossing, no concentration. DD Equimax on 6/2/12. Within 24 hours had pencil eraser sized lumps all over neck and chest. Today, 6/4, she is very itchy, despite cool wet weather that would normally give her some relief. Almost knocked me over taking her sheet off this morning to itch her chest. Lumps still there on neck and chest, no more though anywhere else. Face is being rubbed. Of note, I started this mare on MSM and Histall this past week as I just couldn't take another year of her suffering. It does seem to be helping.
2.) Sitka-3 year old Shetland/Welsh. 10.2HH and 625lbs. full sister to the horse above. As stated above, stiff gaits and body, near club foot that has improved over time, chronically runny eyes. Rubs tail a bit, but not anything like the other mare. DD Equimax on 6/2/12 as well. Both eyes dried up within 24 hours. Subjectively, while ground driving her yesterday seemed looser and flexed better, but probably my mind playing tricks. Today, 6/4, one eye is slightly runny again.
Both will be DD again 6/16/12. One weird thing...I drove the older mare yesterday because I had the chance, took it easy, about a mile, but she was terribly spooky. More so than I've ever seen her...did I see that posted here somewhere? Will update once second DD is done. Thanks for this amazing post!
Cheers to you in Australia!
It feels like winter here, temps in the 40's right now, wet and windy. We have a fire in our woodstove.
Anyway, with this weather one would think horse would be less itchy. But, being 72 hours into our first DD, Sasha is rubbing her face raw. Also new lesions in armpits/elbow area, and along midline. Treated all with soothing balm.
What you describe is my mare to a T in the mid to late summer and into fall. Terrible scurf. Huge flakes, keep coming no matter how much I curry. So much scurf in mane and tail head it is amazing. Nasty, rigid skin along midline and umbilicus that is not softened by anything and sooooo itchy. It must be a huge die-off or some part of the life cycle. It is possible I dewormed with Ivermectin around those times, I didn't keep good records of reactions and such, just what I wormed with. Didn't think there was a connection.
My other mare's eyes are still a bit yucky, but not as bad as they were. Could be weather related too.
So interested in doing the the second DD. This all makes such perfect sense to me as a nurse. Docs commonly so a "loading dose" of a drug to hit the system hard, then adjust the dose accordingly based on response. I see this as exactly the same. Underworming causes resistance.
Still wondering about the increased spooking and overall uneasiness I witnessed in my mare while driving. Anyone else have this response at all??
Hi Twisted Sisters! I'm not sure about increased spookiness - but I think when they are suffering so much maybe they don't cope so well and become more anxious. I figure they must be exhausted from all the itching! I haven't ridden Saadi - he is a big boy - a black Percheron cross - pretty laid back - but during our summer it would be cruel to put a saddle on him. I've been waiting for cooler weather and no rain!
I had his hair tested and the herbalist said to me it felt like his skin was literally crawling but at the time I had no idea about this!
Yes - maybe all the scurf is some part of the life cycle - I spend hours removing it!!! While I continue to see him scratching I will continue with regular Equimax - but perhaps not the double dose - his eye is still a bit runny - don't know if that's the worms or allergy!