Management of Sweet Itch

There is currently no vaccine or cure for Sweet Itch, though a vaccine is currently being developed by Benchmark Researchers who expect the vaccine will be available as a treatment option to European, US and Canadian vets in 2020-2021.  In the meantime, as Culicoides spend very limited time on their host it is hard to control them by using insecticides unless they are of a repellent ability. Therefore sometimes to help horses suffering with Sweet itch we need to use  prevention methods or management of the sores and irritation.


Prevention includes:
  • Stabling horses at dawn and dusk which are the major feeding times of Culicoides.
  • Turning horses out in areas away from the midges breeding grounds if possible meaning ditches and standing water. Alternatively if this is not possible there is the option to place fine mesh netting over these areas.
  • The installation of fans in stables can also be considered if appropriate, as Culicoides are weak fliers it can help to keep them away.
  • Sweet itch and Fly Rugs – usually need to be worn whenever the horse is turned out during the active months.