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Why there is no such thing as a perfect sweet itch treatment

Has your horse been rubbing its tail or manes during summer? Have you been wrapping it up completely without successfully eliminating the itch? Or have you tried a product to combat sweet itch with disappointing results? Sweet itch is a very persistent problem and unfortunately no perfect treatment exists. The only effective approach involves multiple simultaneous actions.

Sweet itch can get so bad that horses scratch off their manes or tail or even develop wounds on their back or around the tail. A lot of owners are finding it difficult to prevent this from happening. And it truly is difficult because no single solution exists.

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Sweet itch is caused by an allergic reaction to gnat bites. These small mosquitoes become active in spring. When they bite your horse, their saliva enters its bloodstream. This causes an itch among horses that are allergic to it. Such an allergy can emerge suddenly, even in senior horses that didn’t develop an itch in the past. And once a horse has become allergic, the condition tends to be permanent. The cause of sweet itch is usually a combination of genetic disposition, a compromised immune system, too much sugar and simply the presence of lots of gnats in the area. Cold blood horses tend to be more susceptible to sweet itch than warm bloods.

The question is: does your horse really have sweet itch? A lot of sweet itch symptoms can also be caused by oversensitivity to certain nutrients, an excess of waste substances accumulated in the body, insulin resistance, other allergies and immune system deficiencies. For example, some horses begin to scratch as soon as they enter a field that was treated with artificial manure. Other horses will be scratching due to an excess of sugar in their diet. It is important to find the cause of the itch rather than assume that your horse is suffering from sweet itch.

No perfect treatment

Unfortunately, sweet itch medication does not (yet) exist. Do not expect to solve the problem with an eczema rug or a certain supplement alone. It is impossible to eliminate mosquito bites completely. Eczema rugs usually do not protect the legs and parts of the head. Nor do supplements completely eliminate bug bites or the associated itch either. A spray may get washed off by rain or lose its effect after a while. And even limiting your horse’s access to the field to night time, will not eliminate the occasional bite. The only way to effectively combat sweet itch, is to take a range of actions at the same time. Only then will you be able to reduce the risk of developing an itch to the minimum. The golden rule is: the more measures you combine, the better sweet itch can be kept at bay. Timing is key!

Preparation: detox for an improved immune system

Horses can suffer from waste substances accumulating in their body as a result of air pollution or fungal spores (mycotoxins) found in hay or silage. Things like vaccinations, medication and worm treatment may cause stress to a horse’s body as well. In order to cleanse these waste substances, natural medicine practitioners recommend detoxing your horse twice a year. These plant extract treatments stimulate the disposal of waste substances and support liver and kidney function, digestion and the lymphatic system. As a result, your horse’s immune system is restored. A proper immune system is especially important in the case of horses suffering from sweet itch. In addition, supplements also work better after a horse has been detoxed. HELTIE horse® Liver & Kidneys is a 100% natural product that is highly suitable for a detox regimen. It is recommended to do a detox in spring and fall.

Start Finecto+ Horse treatment in time

It is important to start preventing the itch before the gnats begin to hatch. They can become active once temperatures exceed 10 degrees Celsius. That is when the first eggs will hatch. If you want to prepare your horse for the arrival of the little buggers, it is smart to start adding Finecto+ Horse to their food in March. This herb supplement will make your horse’s flavour unattractive to gnats. They will not bite as much as a result. Keep feeding the supplement from March till October to keep your horse off their radar.

The herbs in Finecto+ Horse do more than just change the horse’s ‘flavour’. They also have an antibacterial effect as well as a positive impact on the horse’s airways and digestion. Some of the herbs found in the cocktail stimulate the absorption of nutrients and support the intestinal flora, boosting the bacteria in the gut, and with that the intestinal health of your horse. In addition, the herbs have a softening and nurturing effect on the skin, which also helps reduce the itch.

Cover up!

As soon as temperatures exceed 10 degrees Celsius, an eczema rug becomes a must for any sensitive horse. It can be placed underneath a regular winter or rain blanket if temperatures are too low or after shaving your horse. In addition, make sure to keep your horse stabled at dusk.

Use a spray

A large number of mosquitoes and flies can suddenly emerge on a sunny day. This increases the risk of your horse suffering bug bites. During those days, apply extra potent anti-fly spray to the manes, tail and legs of the horse. In addition, it is important to treat wounds since they will cause an itch of their own as they begin to heal. Use the Finecto+ Protect spray. This mixture will cause the wound to dry up more quickly.

Diet and sweet itch

Gnat bites are associated with sugars when it comes to horses suffering from sweet itch. Gnats seem to somehow prefer these horses, especially when their immune systems are down. This is why nutrition is a central pillar in treating sweet itch. Keep in mind the following factors:

  • Stick to low-sugar food (this applies to both roughage and concentrate)
  • Stick to low-sugar snacks. Apples, carrots and treats contain a lot of sugar.
  • Stimulate the immune system and intestinal health
  • Add herbs that make the horse unappealing to gnats, such as Finecto+ Horse
  • Add an anti-oxidising supplement with a strong therapeutic effect such as CBD or salmon oil
  • Ensure healthy skin by adding silicon or biotin.

Conclusion: a holistic approach is key

No perfect treatment exists for ridding your horse of sweet itch. However, there are ways to reduce the itch and scratching behaviour and improve your horse’s summer. A wholistic approach is key. The more different elements you add, the better!


Finecto+ Horse
Finecto+ Horse
  • More than 95% less problems with mites, midges and lice
  • 100% natural and contains no poison.
  • The strength of herbs
  • Ordered before 15.00 u, sent the same day!
  • 600 g
Finecto+ Horse 3KG
Finecto+ Horse 3KG
  • More than 95% less problems with ectoparasites
  • 100% natural and contains no poison.
  • The strength of herbs
  • Ordered before 15.00 u, sent the same day!
  • 3000 g
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