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!