Sweet itch Horse

When it gets friendlier and sunnier outside again, we look forward to a carefree time in nature, but it is precisely at the most beautiful time of the year that a horse disease likes to strike: summer eczema in horses. This extremely unpleasant itching in horses is often observed in Icelandic horses, and it is not without reason that the word "eczema-free" is often used in advertisements for the sale of Icelandic horses.

What is the reason why Nordic Icelandicians tend to tend to this horse sickness? How do I recognize the summer corner at the horse? And how can the summer deal be treated?Summerkzem horse

Eczema in horses is an allergic skin disease caused by various insects, especially flies and mosquitoes. This is why the skin changes also occur in the mosquito season, whereas they usually disappear completely in winter. The horse is allergic to the saliva of certain biting flies and mosquitoes, such as horseflies, gnats and black flies.

The immune system of some horses reacts negatively to proteins found in the saliva of these mosquitoes, and too much histamine is released. As a result, the eczema sufferer scratches his mane, the tail or the underside of his belly, the skin swells and itches. For this reason, Icelandic horses imported from Iceland are particularly susceptible, as Iceland has no mosquito population.
Sweet itch in horses requires treatment in two ways. On the one hand, it is important to avoid contact with the allergy triggers, and on the other hand, the itching and inflammation of the skin should be contained.

Of course, it is not appropriate to lock your horse up in a dark stable in summer, possibly in solitary confinement, so that no mosquito gets lost on your four-legged friend's coat. If you want to take your horse out in the sunshine with other horses, you can buy a large selection of sweet itch rugs from all the usual equestrian shops. The firm material of the sweet itch rug prevents the blood-sucking insects from biting the horse.

Of course, it is not appropriate to keep your horse locked up in a dark stable in summer, possibly even in solitary confinement, so that no mosquito gets lost on your four-legged friend's coat. If you want to take your horse out in the sunshine with other horses, you can buy a large selection of sweet itch rugs from all the usual equestrian shops. The firm material of the sweet itch rug prevents the blood-sucking insects from biting the horse.

Summerkzem horse


Sweet itch in horses should not preclude treatment with creams and lotions. These care products help to reduce the inflammation and curb the itching. If the horse suffers from a very bad case of sweet itch, a medication with clucocoricoids can be administered. However, this should not be given over a longer period of time, as it can cause laminitis. Studies have also shown the fungal vaccine Insol to be extremely helpful, although this has not solved the problem in all horses.
If your horse suffers from sweet itch, you should allow your horse to graze between 9 am and 4 pm, when the mosquitoes are less active. After that, your horse will need either a stable or plastic curtains at the entrances and exits of the open stable to protect it from the mosquitoes.

Windy pastures are beneficial for eczema sufferers as mosquitoes avoid air movement. You should continue to avoid overprovisioning your horse with energy and protein and ensure that your horse has all the nutrients it needs. Good stable and pasture hygiene is also helpful in keeping insects away.

Once a week you should give your sweet itch horse a wash. This will remove the odour that attracts insects. However, too frequent washing destroys the protective function of the skin, so daily washing would be rather counterproductive.


Eczema in horses is therefore an annoying equine disease, but it can be managed well with the right treatment. This takes a little time and patience, but with the right care you will be able to minimise the itching in your horse and enjoy a carefree summer with your darling.