Queensland Itch

queensland itch

Queensland Itch

Queensland Itch is a heartbreaking condition in horses  that occurs when horses have an allergic reaction to sandfly bites.  It is a hard condition to treat and manage.

My Experience with Queensland Itch

I rescued a horse ten years ago, and did not know he suffered from Queensland Itch. Having come from Victoria, I had never even heard of it. I got the horse looking good weight wise and it got to about November- the start of summer in the tropics. Discovering bald patches of skin, I also noticed he was rubbing at trees , on bark, anything he could find. Including scratching his bum on star pickets and ripping at his itchy sheath with his teeth. He itched, scratched and bit himself till his skin bled.

I had vets come and see him. They suggested numerous treatments. I tried them all. Feeding linseeds, garlic, Apple Cider Vinegar, Rose- Hips, brewers yeast. Not all at once though!

Spraying him with insect spray. Weekly intramuscular injections of Vitamin B12. Washing him with numerous shampoos, sprays lotions and potions. Shoo Tags. Brute wipe on. I tried all the home remedies people suggested too. No success.You name it I tried it!

In the end I had to resort to steroid shots. Which eased his itching but  didn’t fix the condition.

What worked for me

I still have the same horse. I still live in North Queensland. There are sand flies where I live. The way to deal with itch is two fold. Firstly, you need to prevent bites from sandflies. I currently have my itchy horse in a light mesh rug with a hood. I have a great repellant spray given to me by a vet. (Which I am happy to share, just contact me) I spray my itchy old horse daily with the spray on the areas that the rug doesn’t cover.

I also have cattle ear tags – attached to his chest strap and his leg strap with cable ties. Very Mc Guyver I know! They are called Python tags and you get 20 in a bag for about  hundred bucks and they last for three months. He still gets the odd bite even with all the stuff I do to prevent bites. When he does I use my Stay Put Cream. I developed this cream with a veterinarian friend of mine. Zinc toughens and soothes the skin, cold pressed hexane free castor oil also soothes skin as well as promoting hair regrowth. Essential oils repel insects, and heal the tender skin. It works brilliantly, I know from personal experience!

18 thoughts on “Queensland Itch

  1. Anne Thake says:

    Have saved this written patch awesome as yes all the lotions & ptions need a simple that works, need fly spray & atay put cream recipes. Please thank u
    Always looking for natural goodies for my fur kids, we go from 24y gelding lesson horse, 20y stallion, broodies, ridden & bubbas

  2. gaylene says:

    Hi Anne
    I have a clydie that has developed queensland itch – any information helpful. Where did you buy the tags for the rug please and what is the rug called that you purchased etc please. I am at the moment trying herbal treatments

  3. Wendy Bennett says:

    I have a beautiful 26year Qtr horse who gets the itch too ( we live in Coffs Hatbour)
    I have insect rugs but would love the mixtures that you put on patches to ease itch

    • Carolynne Staines says:

      Hi Wendy, we use Python Cattle ear tags. We attach to rugs using a cable tie but you can also plait them into tails and mane. e also have a recipe for a home made fly spray that works very well in the tropics to keep sand flies at bay. If you would like it please email us using the contact form

  4. Alexandra says:

    Hi Carolynne, could you please send me the fly spray recipe. I’ve got a pony that agists in my paddock and he suffers badly from the itch. I do rug him, tried Calafea oil, neem oil, washing but he scratches till he tears the rug and has open wounds on his bum and back. Thanks for any help you can offer

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