When Does Sweet Itch Season Start and Finish?
Understanding Sweet Itch is a major part of being able to help your horse get through the months that it becomes more evident and will allow you to be able to begin preventative measures early, increasing the chances that your horse will not suffer as badly.
In order for Sweet Itch to become a threat, the weather needs to be suitable for the growth and presence of Culicoides midges, meaning that the conditions need to be warm enough for midges be born and cool enough for them to be able to exist.
When does the Sweet Itch Season Start and Finish?
The Sweet Itch season is thought to exist between April to October each year.
Although the weather conditions play a large part in the beginning of the Sweet Itch season, due to midges needing to be able to survive, generally the Sweet Itch season is thought to begin in April but has previously been seen to come into force slightly earlier in years that see a warmer February.
With the temperatures tending to drop in October, generally, we see the mass reduction of Culicoides midges and research has shown that the reduction in the number of midges means that horses that suffer from Sweet Itch begin to show signs of improvement during this time.
How to plan for the start of Sweet Itch season
As there is no definitive cure for Sweet Itch available, one of the best ways to combat the condition is through careful planning and preventative measures being taken by the owners of the horse.
Since we know that generally, the Sweet Itch season starts in April, this means that as an owner of a horse that suffers from Sweet Itch you should be looking to produce a preventative plan of care for your horse for the upcoming season.
This could be the inception of antihistamines being given to the horse at the start of March to increase their tolerance level or planning to purchase the barrier treatments that you are hoping to use during the season.
Other ways that you could look to plan ahead for the upcoming Sweet Itch season are:
- Begin to add chosen feed supplements into feeds at the beginning of March to allow the benefits to be absorbed.
- Purchase your fly masks and Sweet Itch rugs during the winter months as they will often be available in the sales and can mean that you can get one of the better rugs for less.
- Stock up on midge and insect repellent through multibuy offers to save money.
- Buying more than one Sweet Itch rug means that you can regularly change and clean the horse rugs to prevent sweat and dirt sitting against the horse’s body for prolonged periods.
- Think about possible options of stabling at both dusk and dawn to avoid the most high-risk times of the day that midges will be evident.
- Speak to your vet about possible treatments that could be available as a preventative measure, such as injections and the purchasing of products such as Switch.