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Looks Like Sweet Itch May Actually Be Onchocerca


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#1 mstevegrrl

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:51 AM

I have a 15 year old gelding that I've had since he was 7. When I got him he was a mane-less, tail-less scrubby looking thing. Every year he has attempted to rub out his hair, and chew his chest, belly and sheath to a bloody mess. Covering him nose to hoof was the only way to keep hair on him. (And ONLY because he physically COULDN'T rub/scratch/chew it off)
Earlier this year, someone on this board pointed me in the direction of a "study" (I use the term loosely, not done by vets or anything) that suggested many cases of so called sweet itch were, in fact, Onchocerca. I guess some people call them neck threadworms.
I was skeptical because, honestly, I thought it was nuts. A vet told me something kinda like that years ago, and I thought he wasn't listening to me. Hello, he is allergic to the bugs landing on him, not creepy crawlies under his skin! After reading all the stories though, I was intrigued. All the symptoms THEY described fit my gelding to a "T".

Drake started itching, so I double dosed him. And lo and behold, here 4 days later, he has started getting some round lumps popping up on his shoulders. He is itchier than ever, but that is supposed to be a good sign. He is following the "typical" symptoms for a horse shedding these worms. I'm cautiously optimistic. But if this works???? :yahoo: This horse has suffered for so long! And me, him trying to figure out a good way to help him.
Just had to tell someone!!

#2 Chocomare

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:40 AM

Ahyup B)
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#3 mstevegrrl

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:33 PM

Lol chocomare. I think I heard "told ya so" there somewhere? I'm trying to do damage control though, he is tearing himself up. Got some swat, a flysheet so he physically can't scratch, and am gonna pick up some Benadryl to add to his feed. Any other suggestions? It looks like we fast forwarded to the end of summer, in regards to how much damage he has done to himself already. I've never seen blood this early. :(

#4 Chocomare

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:56 PM

Anything external that you wanna try to soothe the itchies is good. Just be sure to do the 2nd dose and feel free to follow up with bi-weeky ivermectin standard dose throughout gnat season.

Wretched things.
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#5 mstevegrrl

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 03:08 PM

Oh yes, definitely not skipping the second dose. I'm so grossed out that this is what has been plaguing him ask these years... And I feel like such a jerk for ignoring the vet when he tried to tell me that was what we were dealing with. I just thought he was old and crazy. Guess I'm the crazy one! I've never really been able to ride this horse during the summer. I'm excited to be able to finish his training lol

#6 Chocomare

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:39 AM

You were lucky to find a vet who recognizes the true cause of sweet itch. Alas, thousands of vets refuse to go there... they use the standard "allergy to fly saliva." :confused0024:
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Gal. 5:1a --
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#7 Serah Rose

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:11 PM

Yay!! any pics!!??

We had a gelding down on island that I swear has the neck threadworm issue...but bosslady never let me truly double dose him and followup. She considered it too dangerous... :thud:
*Canter for the Cure*

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#8 Demon's Mom

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:29 AM

In doing some research I found an old thread here on HC that has some pics of a horse that had this. I'm going to bump that thread back up. My husbands horse has the same tiny bald spots and raw belly as the horse in that thread, gets it every summer. I'm going to try the DD of Equimax and see how it goes.

Paula

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RIP, Gone but never forgotten!
Ethan Kyle Daugherty, the most wonderful son in the entire world. I miss you!! October 13, 1991 - March 19, 2002
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Demon, Taz 
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#9 katybell

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:02 PM

I did this a few years ago on one of my horses and it worked great. He never had any other problems after that.

Late last year we got a mare that was emaciated. I thought at the time that her hair loss and itching was from mal-nutrition, but she has gained weight and still itches and has bald patches. I did the dd of equimax and then again 2 weeks later. It did seem to help for a short time but she never cleared up and still has bald patches and itches constantly. Now I think I just need to go another round and do more follow up treatments. I am going to try this on her again.

#10 mstevegrrl

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:41 PM

No, no pics naked. (without his sheet, that is) He is just getting over the extra itchy-ness from his second double dose, so he is healing up from THAT. I swear I have the most flexible horse in the world. he can reach his head all the way under his belly to scratch on the other side.... :rolleye0014:
I've got him in a Amigo Bug Buster to minimize the damage lol. He is winding down though, seems to be back to a "normal" reaction to (real) bugs I can see. (I compare him to my sister's horse to gauge what is normal LOL)
Chocomare, do you know if this will happen every two weeks when I give him Ivermectin?

#11 Trinity

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:41 PM

Horses should be continued to be dosed until all signs of NTWs are gone. It can supposedly take years to kill all the adults in heavily infested horses. At any time if itchyness comes up, double dose. Most folks do once a month at minimum for a known carrier and the worst ones get it every 2 weeks if they have more outbreaks sooner than a month out from the last dose until it slacks off during the season.
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#12 katybell

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:52 PM

Glad this came back up. I did not know they could be treated that often.

#13 mstevegrrl

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:11 AM

I'm sure he falls into the "bad" category, and already plan on at least a single dose every 2 weeks, but are you saying a double every two weeks? *sigh* I gotta go buy stock in whoever makes Ivermectin LOL

#14 journeysgirl

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:27 AM

I'm sure he falls into the "bad" category, and already plan on at least a single dose every 2 weeks, but are you saying a double every two weeks? *sigh* I gotta go buy stock in whoever makes Ivermectin LOL


If I remember right you have to use Equimax, not just plain ivermec.

1c958838-4475-4695-b61d-b8ec73e28191_zps

 

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#15 Chocomare

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:46 AM

The initial 2 double dose Equimax (3 if real bad) is where you start. Then do bi-weekly Ivermectin throughout NTW season to keep the itchies at bay until first hard freeze.
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#16 journeysgirl

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:41 AM

The initial 2 double dose Equimax (3 if real bad) is where you start. Then do bi-weekly Ivermectin throughout NTW season to keep the itchies at bay until first hard freeze.


Ah.. learned something new today.

1c958838-4475-4695-b61d-b8ec73e28191_zps

 

If at first you don't succeed, do it the way your wife told you to.
The winds of heaven blow between my horses ears (Arab proverb)
Everyday you are unhappy is a whole day wasted not being happy.
Eff em and feed em fishheads!


Member of the "I met a board buddy club" : MarsCandyBar, Apps4life, Appyluver, Snowyhorse, Greenhaven


#17 Demon's Mom

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 12:38 PM

I've made a Word document and am copying and pasting all this info into it. Going to print that out and put it in my book at home so I always have it. I've learned a bunch from this thread and the other one.

Paula

***********************************
RIP, Gone but never forgotten!
Ethan Kyle Daugherty, the most wonderful son in the entire world. I miss you!! October 13, 1991 - March 19, 2002
***********************************
Proud mom of:
Demon, Taz 
*
Board buddies: QHridinGA, Loranbama, DustyGirl(Char), CassienChey, Pokeysgirl, BB Blue, SmokeyJoe, Littlebayroan, Cowgirlartist, Tuper, Pinebarsissy, Hastflicka, Draftiemama, Foreverinbluegenes, SpottedTapps, Shelley Carter, Rockabillygal, Flequus, Poldi. MixedUpTease, Harley, JoAnn, FloridaCowgirl, Lash, Tuck, HoofsInMotion, Rattusratt, Notyo, HFF, Apps4Life  Apps4Wife. LTR, Cactus Rose, BarnBarb831, TheSugarLady, Theo, Spring Storm
***********************************


#18 mstevegrrl

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:58 PM

Because Drake had just as severe of an itchy reaction after the second double dose, does that suggest he is one of the "worse" ones? Yes, the first two have been equimax :)

#19 Trinity

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:28 PM

If symptoms/bumps/itchyness return before 4 weeks is up or the horse flairs when dosed, you need to double dose at 2 weeks for awhile and then reevaluate again to see if you can spread it out longer after several more doses. IMO this is kinda a gut feeling thing after watching the horses response to each dose and how he is doing in between. I hate NTWs. They sure cause alot of terrible suffering and can be hard to get rid of.
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#20 mstevegrrl

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:27 AM

I'm kinda frustrated, we are a week and a half out from his second double dose, and he is SOOOO itchy again. We had a few days respite from the itchies, and now they are back bad as ever. Does it ever get better?!?!? :( I just want him to be better. :mecry: Yes, this is mostly a whine.

#21 Trinity

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

Two things come to mind,

First, your horse has dealt with this a long time and may have many, many adults in there procreating that will need time to die off since the dewormer only kills the young and not the adults that are protected by where they live in the body. It doesnt go away all at once. Its a somewhat gradual lessening with continued treatment till all the adults life cycles are over.

Secondly, You also may have a little bit of an actual allergy to fly bites also that is compounding, but this isnt necessarily the case either.

Best thing to do is just keep on treating and providing palliative care in the meantime

Edited by Trinity, 06 May 2012 - 12:50 PM.

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#22 mstevegrrl

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:22 PM

He does seem to be more sensitive than a lot of other horses, so I wouldn't be surprised if he actually does have a little of a bug allergy. Of course even a few days of relief every couple weeks is much better than no break at all :)

Here is his face: Posted Image
His sheath: Posted Image
His mane and the dandruff crap that is coming off it (from the worms, I'd guess?) Posted Image

I've been putting swat on him daily and calm coat and a fly spray. I have given him benadryl a couple of times but it doesn't seem like it made a difference :/

#23 BelleoftheBall

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:40 PM

I have a friend that is currently battling the same thing with her gelding. She has been giving him Anihist, which works pretty well for the itching, watery eyes, nose stuff. But she just recently ordered something from Platinum for Skin/allergy. I will get the info and check with her and see how he is progressing. This is an every summer issue with him also, although this year he is doing much better so far. She also washes and sprays him with some sort of coolant anti fungal stuff with tea tree oil.

#24 mstevegrrl

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:13 PM

He doesn't have itchy watery eyes or runny nose, actually. He just rubs his face against his legs, it appears he has a pretty heavy infestation around his eyes. His eye looks a little weird in the pic cause it is blue-ish. He is blind in that eye, he poked himself with a stick before I got him. In hindsight, I wonder if he was trying to itch himself cause of this Onchocerca itchies. I put calm coat on him which contains lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus oils, and that helps externally soothe the itchies.

#25 Trinity

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:17 PM

grr lost my post....

Im sure you have already thought about this/done it but I wanted to add...

1. Do you feed flax? If not id try really dosing him well with about 2 good cups or a little more a day. It has been proven to help many horses with skin issues long term.

2. Is he on good green grass pasture? If not or its limited pasture, consider trying supplementing his Vit A well just like horses with lice or rain rot knin issues. I really like Mare Plus by farnam as a all around vit supplement that has high A content.

another thing to consider is that tall grasses make bugs worse and the seed heads and pollen can be allergy triggers as well as higing bugs, so keep the grass shorter.

One more thing is that some horses are just as allergic to mosquito bites so turning them out at night only can backfire for some of them. Fans on inside a shady barn with fly spray mists seems to be the best prevention IME for the really sensitive ones.

Edited by Trinity, 06 May 2012 - 04:18 PM.

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#26 mstevegrrl

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:35 PM

Yes, I feed about 2 1/2 cups of flax a day, and he is on several acres of pasture. A lot of the grass is about knee high. Unfortunately, it is very wet right now, and that is definitely not helping things. (As the other 2 pastures are bordering on overgrazed, I don't have any other option right now) I don't have the option to stall him either.
He is wearing a Bug Buster fly sheet with a belly band, and I line his underside with SWAT around 5 in the afternoon to help deter the little bugs that come out. Really, where he is right now is NOT the ideal turnout area for him, I just don't have anywhere else to put him. I'm hoping the other pastures will recover quickly, as they aren't as wet and buggy.
99% of his diet comes from the pasture, I feed a couple pounds of oats to carry his flax.

#27 Trinity

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:52 PM

Oh yeah the wet is a real bummer :( I sure hope that things ease up for him soon for you.
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#28 mstevegrrl

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:00 PM

Thanks :) I sure appreciate the advice and support here!

#29 TStJohn

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 12:19 PM

I will have you all know I treated my horses for this problem after reading your posts. I am having positive results and am in your debt. I have shared the information I found with some friends and I hope they find some relief too.

Thank you again very much.
Tracy St. John

#30 Chocomare

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 03:18 PM

For the be all/end all of threads FULL of information, get thee to COTH. http://www.chronofho...ad.php?t=155469
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Gal. 5:1a --
http://forever-free-farm.tripod.com