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Horse Shield skin care barrier cream

Sweet Itch


Sweet Itch is a on-going issue for a large number of horse owners.

Also know as Queensland Itch in Australia, Sommer Ekzem in Germany or, more formally, as Summer Seasonal Recurrent Dermatitis, Sweet Itch is a skin condition that results from an over active autoimmune response to insect bites.

Hypersensitivity in your horse, pony or donkey is created when the bite of Culicoides  midges leaves saliva antigens in the wound that prompts a immune over reaction.  Bites from other insects, particularly the Simulium Equinum black fly, can also produce an allergic reaction.

Culicoides  midges tend to concentrate their bites on the body of the horse, chiefly targeting the mane, tail and face areas.  These midges can be a nuisance from March through to October, depending on weather conditions.

The Simulium Equinum black fly prefers to feed on and around the ears.

Once a horse has become hypersensitive, they will experience an allergic reaction whenever they are bitten.  Intense itchiness results and your horse will continually rub themselves against anything that will bring temporary relief.  In doing so, they will likely make their condition worse by damaging already sensitive skin.

Sweet Itch symptoms commonly include skin thickening, flaky dandruff-like drynessulcerated skin, lesions and weeping open wounds, scuffed and broken hairs, matted and damaged mane and tails, and bald patches.

Not only will your horse display incessant scratching behaviour, but they are also likely to be agitated, unresponsive and generally of a distracted disposition.



Preventing Sweet Itch

There is an assortment of preventative measures and treatments for Sweet Itch.  However, no single cure-all exists and owners are usually required to adopt and multi-faceted approach in order to address the causes and symptoms.

Firstly it is important to try and prevent the insects from biting.

Rugs and face masks are used, to a varying degree of success, to create a physical barrier between the horse's skin and the biting insects.  To give complete protection, these must be worn at all times when midges and flies are active and must cover all vulnerable areas.

As an added measure, insect repellents or insecticides may be applied and these may provide adequate protection if your animal is stabled and all openings are coved with insect netting.  Unfortunately, some insect repellents contain ingredients that may produce unwanted side-effects.  Some are best applied only with the care and attention of a vet.

As an example, benzyl benzoate based remedies need to be thoroughly rubbed into the skin in order to provide maximum effectiveness. If the skin already has open wounds, or ulcerated, then benzyl benzoate can act as an irritant and will induce allergic reaction symptoms of its own.  This, of course, will increase your animal's tendency to rub their skin against hard objects which is the very behaviour that your are attempting to halt.

Other remedies include glucocorticoids which have been linked to lamintis.  Pregnant mares and horses with a disposition to laminitis are not suited to having these products applied.


Treatments for Sweet Itch

Treating the symptoms is the other aspect of managing Sweet Itch.

Because the intense itchiness that accompanies the hypersensitivity, a horse suffering from Sweet Itch will incessantly rub against trees, fences and other hard objects.  This compounds the problem and will soon lead to open wounds and the possibility of secondary bacterial infections.  It is therefore highly desirable to use an antipruritic to reduce the itchiness.

Horse Shield not only contains natural antipruritics but it also boasts antibacterial ingredients.  Once applied, Horse Shield will instantly offer relief from itchiness.  

Since Horse Shield has been clinically and laboratory tested, it is completely non-toxic and may be used on any area of your animal's body. 

Whatever approach you take to ameliorate Sweet Itch, you are unfortunately unlikely to find a 100% effective cure.  However, by understanding the causes and symptoms, Sweet Itch can be successfully managed.


Relieve your horse's itchiness and heal open wounds.

Want to prove to yourself how effective Horse Shield is?

We’re so confident in the unique way in which Horse Shield works that we urge new customers to try it without any financial risk. We are the only company in the equine skincare industry that has the confidence to offer this.

Invest with confidence! With our unique Horse Shield 90 Day Money Back Guarantee  you can quickly prove to yourself that Horse Shield will solve your equine Sweet Itch skincare concerns!

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Horse Shield - Your solution to equine Sweet Itch skin care


Sweet Itch horse protection

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"I have been using your product for some time via an agency and am now buying it direct from yourselves. I just wanted to let you know that it has been an enormous help to both my children. It has been wonderful in preventing nappy rash but the biggest benefit has been to my 15 month old son who suffers quite badly from Eczema." J M (Warwickshire)

"I use Derma Shield daily to keep my hands protected as my work duties involve my hands frequently being immersed in water. The protection has been amazing and the painful dry skin I suffered has improved and I would recommend it to anyone with similar problems." D T (Gillingham)

“I was excited about trying Derma Shield as I have heard good reports about it.  After using it I have found that my eczema has decreased and it is not so itchy - and that's after only a few days!” K H (Swansea)