Rocky Bay Equine Newsletter
April 2020



Despite the chill in the air and no matter what else is happening around us, spring has come early and summer is right around the corner. That's our cue to remind you that along with upcoming seasonal transitions come new wellness challenges for you and your horse. The challenge du jour is related to the inevitable uptick in insect activity. Some good news, especially if you find yourself with extra time on the farm, is that there are several things you can implement right now to mitigate the annoyance and trauma inflicted by biting insects. It’s a perfect time to improve your manure management practices, to install fly screens and do a super clean up of your stable and environs. 

Common sense pest management goals begin with decreasing breeding areas for insects like house and stable flies, black flies, mosquitoes, gnats and horse flies, each of which inflict their own particular torment on our animals. House and stable flies are mostly annoying, although they can spread disease and local inflammation where they congregate in the moist areas around the face, eyes and ears. Biting insects like black flies, horse flies and gnats (aka midges or culicoidies species) can be a lot more than just annoying. Saliva of the biting gnat can cause allergic reactions that may worsen with each season. Overreaction by the individual horse’s immune system can cause enough itchy irritation that self mutilation can become a real problem. Aggressive rubbing on walls and fences can cause significant damage to both horse and home.

No matter how well we address insect problems with good environmental management and symptomatic therapy, we cannot eliminate all exposure. For animals with hyperactive immune systems it doesn’t take much to trigger a chain reaction of inflammation, itching and self mutilation. Rocky Bay Equine has been taking the autologous (heal thyself) approach with treatment for culicoidies hypersensitivity for several years now with good results. The procedure is relatively simple starting with a blood sample taken from the affected animal. The serum is washed to concentrate lipid (fat) molecules, then mixed with ethanol and sugar for oral administration. If you have a horse with seasonal fly bite dermatitis, it’s important to be pro active about treatment since allergic reactions tend to get worse as the season progresses. Self mutilation from itching with crusty, damaged skin can attract more flies creating a continuous cycle of irritation that can really get out of hand. If you know that your horse is likely to be an itchy mess as insect activity increases, give us a call now to discuss a treatment plan.

Additional information about autologous therapy for culicoidies hypersensitivity can be found here . For more about how allergies work click here and for comments about insect management practices try here . Yep, it’s a topic that just won’t bugger off.

Sending all our best wishes for your personal health and wellness as we negotiate the pandemic. In trying times we appreciate our terrific clients even more than usual. You know the biosecurity drill.... it works for animals, it works for humans! Stay contained, stay safe. We are here for you when your animals need us. Take care!