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Deal killer?

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  • Deal killer?

    Just a question - you are looking at a horse who meets all your needs but suffers from sweet itch. Would you pass or buy?
    Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction

  • #2
    I would pass. Having witnessed someone at my barn dealing with it, it can be a nightmare. It's a constant battle, and it was hard to look at the horse being so uncomfortable at times w/ nothing we could do about it. I guess it depends on the case, some are pretty mild compared to others. But just think of it as something you will always have to deal with. Also depends what discipline you are doing since there are outward symptoms. With even a mild case I would pass for the hunters, but might be ok for jumpers or pleasure riding if the appearance doesn't matter quite as much. Argh, it seems like it's always something w/ these animals!


    • #3
      I hate to say it but I would pass too.

      I have a lovely mare with sweet itch and this summer has been hell dealing with it in the super duper hot weather. I didn't even ride her for 2 months b/c I just couldn't bare being on her with her that itchy. I've tried everything!
      Fine Equine Art http://www.marcycriner.com


      • #4
        I certainly would NOT pass, just do to sweet itch. Growing up with horses in FL, sweet itch happens to even the best of them. I've had very good luck treating and preventing sweet itch by keeping EVERYTHING clean (meaning horse and equipment), and using 4% Chlorhexidine scrub on affected areas, as well as feeding garlic.


        • #5


          • #6
            sorry pass


            • #7
              Curious, do any of get good results w/ hydroxazine ? I use it on a horse that is super sensitive to fly allergy with great results. I don't know if the conditions where you are prevent you from placing the horse in the best possible situation to prevent exposure to biting insects so my question is hypothetical.


              • #8
                May be a stupid question, but would you be keeping the horse in the same area where it is now, I assume affected with sweet itch? I'm just asking because I bought one in FL several years ago that was just covered in it. Jucky oozing pimples completely covered her body. really disgusting. Literally within 3 to 5 days of getting her home in the mid west, it was completely gone. All the puss spots had dried up and within about 10 days even the scabs were gone. She has never gotten it again in probably 7 years.

                So if she is staying there, I would pass if it is severe. If you are moving her to a different part of the country, I wouldn't hesitate.


                • #9
                  As someone who has a horse who suffers from sweet itch, I would pass. I tried everything from supplements to allergy shots, etc. for my boy with very little help. It is very frustrating and difficult to watch your horse suffer with sweet itch while you are trying everything you can to help him. If you purchase a horse with sweet itch, be prepared financially and mentally to deal with it. The cost of all the supplements, fly sheets, skin products, allergy shots, etc. that you buy can accumulate quickly.

                  On another note, if you are planning on showing this horse, you may also want to consider the cosmetic issues associated with sweet itch. I am a jumper rider, so it is not as much of an issue for me. However, I do not know how it could/would affect the judge in hunter competition. Depending on the severity of the horse's sweet itch, they can be hairless and raw in some areas.

                  Best of luck to you (and to the poor horse!).


                  • #10
                    EquineDriver: Now that is interesting. I brought my mare down to Aiken last fall from Vancouver, BC. She never had sweet itch there. I do think location plays a big role in it!

                    Jumper 27: I've joined the sweet itch club now! I've done everything you have (even tried the Equi-Max double dosing in hopes that was the ticket) and boy boy does it add up in $$ and time/effort. I have pics of my beautiful black mare on the fridge doing hunters in BC then I look out to see 3/4 of her mane rubbed off, scabs on her shoulders/face plus the top of her tail looks like a ratty toothbrush!

                    So...I would say if the present owners have it under control and you are in another part of the country...changing my no to a maybe. Would have to be a hell of a nice horse tho...
                    Fine Equine Art http://www.marcycriner.com


                    • #11
                      bkkone - I tried the Equimax double dosing too! I had so much hope, but, unfortunately, it did not help for me either . The most success I have had was with moving him to a different part of the barn and putting him on Smart Bug Off.


                      • #12
                        If I was looking at a prospect or a horse that I would want to resell I would most likely pass. Though the severity of it would certainly be something I would consider. I have a sensitive-to-bugs mare and had a horse who suffered horribly from sweet itch (to the point that when I first got him he would chew himself bloody leaving him raw from chest to sheath). But I was able to control it in both horses with Amigo Bugbuster fly sheets. But then I'm in the Seattle area where maybe the bugs aren't as bad as elsewhere? (Although it sure seems like we have as many gnats as most other places, and those were what were doing the damage for my gelding). I certainly wouldn't want to deal with it in a prospect that I was also taking a gamble on becoming a good performance horse.

                        If I was looking at an already-performing/trained horse that I wasn't taking additional risks on in any other way (other than the usual risks we assume as horse owners, of course), it wouldn't be as big of a deterrent.
                        Flying F Sport Horses
                        Horses in the NW


                        • #13
                          equinedriver- that makes sense because you probably didn't have the little midges that cause the sweet itch where you moved to.


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't pass up!

                            Both my horses have itch and I take the time to manage it (the hardest thing is what works for one horse may not work for another, so it's trial and error). We have a wonderful partnership.


                            • #15
                              I have used ground flax seed successfully on a couple of sweet itch victims. Worth a try.


                              • #16
                                Just to clarify..... the horse was in FL. I lived in Nebraska, and to be honest had never really heard of sweet itch. Although the seller had told me obviously, I was still shocked when I saw her when I got there to pick her up. What a mess !!!!! I took her to Nebraska, and no more sweet itch. She ended up in ILL and is now in MN. 7 years later no issue, obviously because it isn't an issue in that part of the country. I have no doubt if we moved her back to FL, it would come back.

                                I felt kind of stupid posting the question, but since it hadn't come up yet, thought I would mention that one solution is to move/sell them where sweet itch is not an issue.


                                • #17
                                  Depends. If a seller showed me a perfectly fine-Coated horse and said "this horse is prone to sweet itch and this is his program for controlling it," probably not a deterrent. But if seller shows me a raw and mangy-looking beast, I would run. Not going to assume I could do better.


                                  • #18
                                    I'd ask for the current owner to treat the horse with Hydroxazine and Lysine oral supplement for 2 weeks and see how the horse responds to treatment before making a decision.


                                    • #19
                                      Sweet Itch is really location specific. I had never had a horse with it until the neighbors emptied and cleaned out their pond. When they let it refill, the midges came out of nowhere and 2 (out of 7) horses got sweet itch.

                                      I was able to control it on the gelding (no t/o at dawn or dusk and careful maintenance (as above -- I also highly recommend "Muck Itch"))

                                      The mare went to Ky to be sold at the Keeneland Nov. breeding stock sale, and her sweet itch cleared up as soon as she got away from the ponds.

                                      So, a horse does not have to be moved from state to state -- sweet itch midges can be as specifically localized within a farm.

                                      If you know the horse is susceptible to it, and you are proactive, then the battle is 1/2 won.

                                      If the horse is currently suffering from it (and Sept is prime time), I like the idea of asking the seller to treat it with known products to see how well it reacts to them.
                                      Last edited by Lord Helpus; Sep. 19, 2011, 11:49 AM.
                                      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                      Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks everyone for your thoughts and experiences.
                                        Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction