Can horses cope with sudden cold weather?
Horses can survive and even thrive in what we consider to be very inhospitable conditions, but they do need plenty of feed to fuel them and keep them warm.
Itchiness can be caused by a variety of factors; some within our control such as those affected by diet or management and some beyond our control i.e. environmental factors such as the weather or pollens. Soaps, sprays and detergents can also irritate sensitive skin and some horses do appear a lot more sensitive than others!
Itchy cobs may have underlying conditions such as Mallenders or Chronic Progressive Lymphoedema (CPL) whilst native breeds can often be prone to conditions such as sweet-itch.
There is little scientific evidence for 'best practise' but it is usually important to keep sugar and starch levels low and remove common irritants such as cereals and their by-products, also soya, molasses and artificial additives or bulkers.
In very severe cases, we may suggest an exclusion diet: stripping back to a single forage type, such as Timothy grass or sainfoin, with some Instant Linseed to help reduce irritation. This should help the skin settle and recover before reintroducing a suitable Blend or Balancer. Traditional Brewers Yeast is often suggested as it reportedly makes the blood taste bitter which is off-putting to biting midges.
We have recently introduced MalleMash, a feed created specifically for equines prone to Mallenders, Sallenders, CPL and dry itchy skin.
If you would like to discuss your horse's diet our Feed Line nutrition team will be happy to help. Contact the team on 01728 604 008 or by completing our short online form.
If your horse itches themselves raw, you suspect an allergic reaction or they are becoming very agitated by their itchiness, you should always consult your vet.