What Is Sweet Itch?

What is Sweet Itch in Horses?

Sweet Itch, often called summer eczema, is caused by a hypersensitivity to insect bites normally flies, mosquitoes and biting midges — or ‘no-see-ums.’

Sensitivity levels vary based on immunity and skin conditions. Sensitive horses attract more bites and have greater allergic reactions to bites. The result is greater pain, itching and suffering.

A horse’s skin has a protective layer called the “acid mantle.” The acid mantle is a layer of lactic acid which guards the skin from bacteria, parasites and infections. The acid mangle may be damaged by poor nutrition, stress, blood toxins and even food allergies. A horse with these as a baseline is often predisposed to inflammation, infection and a variety of skin conditions. The opportunistic insects are drawn to the weakened condition.