Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reader Question on Bug Bites

Trying to help May from East Texas who has a horse with bug bites on his neck. Her other horse is not affected. Fly Spray doesn't seem to work on the affected horse. I told May what I do to treat a horse with bug bite like bumps which get irritated, scratched, then open. If bugs are attracted before then they for sure will be with an open sore.

It may not necessarily be bug bites, it could be an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the horse's feed, or any weed the horse may be able to graze on. In that case, the Vet may tell you to use Tri-Hist. If it is an allergic based reaction then ask the Vet for some feeding options as well. You may want to feed loose hay rather than tightly packed flakes to help get the dust and spoors out.

In any case a product called M-T-G, which is a sulfur - mineral oil based product, works well to sooth the irritated skin. I hose the horse off and scrap or brush the salt off his hair. I do not generally use soap before hand. I'm from the school that rarely gives the horse a bath, just prefer to hose them off from time to time. I guess I tend to think that washing too often with soap products is un-natural and can remove some of the natural protective oils the horse has on it's skin.

When I use M-T-G, which stands for Mane, Tail and Groom, and for the record my wife taught me to use this, I wear rubber gloves as the sulfur-mineral oil based M-T-G really soaks into your hands and you will be smelling like Frankenstein for a time to come. I use a wet rag to apply the M-T-G and really rub it into the skin, cause you know once you turn that horse back out, he's going to roll. You can leave him tied up to dry for a spell as well.

A light weight fly sheet can be used to protect the horse from bug bites, if it is bug bites. I don't really think the East Texas humidity makes this a good option. In any event, just rinsing off your horse and grooming him will give him some relief.

I recently read a quote, I think from the September issue of Western Horseman, to the effect that grooming your horse let you get to know each other and learn each other's personality,....boy ain't that the truth. Good luck May and safe journey.

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