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ASK THE VET.  Dr. Jim.

Oct 10, 2023

‘Queensland Itch’

I came across my first case of ‘Queensland Itch’ when I was working in Windsor in 1970. A pony at Scheyville, had a particularly nasty skin disease which looked like the classic condition known as “Queensland Itch”. The only problem with that diagnosis was that we were a long way from Queensland and as a newly graduated vet just out of university, I was hesitant to make the diagnosis. All the symptoms seemed to fit, so with the permission of the owner we treated the pony for the Queensland Itch and he made a remarkable recovery. I remember being quite pleased with myself. All my treatments should be so successful.

Horses can be particularly irritated by ‘Queensland Itch’.

Culicoides, biting flies or midges, can cause an intense allergic reaction in the horse’s skin. These small insects are particularly common in summer in areas where there is stagnant water for the midges to breed in. Horses will often become so itchy that they rub the rump and neck on objects until the skin is raw. Treatment consists of washing with a long-lasting insecticide such as Permoxin and medicated shampoos. This is often effective.  However, in severe cases a veterinarian may prescribe cortisone drugs. As these can have severe side effects they should only be used with veterinary supervision. Rugging and covering the horse is also helpful as it keeps the inspects off the skin.

As summer approaches in the Hawkesbury region keep an eye out for any sign of your horse rubbing. It could well be a reaction to biting insects.

If you have a question fir Dr. Jim regarding the health of your animal email info@hawkesburypost.com.au

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