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Ecovet Blog

Ecovet Love From a Professional Groom

We were so pleased to receive this wonderful feedback about Ecovet fly spray from the good folks at ProEquineGrooms.com:

"As a professional Groom, I understand the importance of reliable fly control measures at the barn. Insects and flies can transmit disease, cause skin reactions, and create an uncomfortable environment for you and your horse. Eco-Vet Fly Repellent addresses all of these issues with ingredients that are safe and reliable. The naturally derived fatty acids create an invisible barrier on your horses, insects are fooled into believing your horse is not really there!

"The simple act of spraying a few spritzes on your horse also clears your work area and cross ties of pests for the day. While the smell is unusual, it’s not offensive, and definitely effective. I also appreciate that Eco-Vet invested in EPA approval for this revolutionary and effective way to combat flies and insects at the barn!"

(If you're interested in equine grooming/clipping ... or anything horse-related at all, really ... ProEquineGrooms.com is a fun and informative resource. Check it out!)

Helping the Allergic Horse

Fighting allergies is very frustrating. Unfortunately, we never really cure allergies but we can find ways to manage them. 

Horses can be allergic to a variety of things but Culicoides species, which cause sweet itch, can be particularity aggravating.

Looking at how Culicoides feed can help formulate the best defense plan.

Usually the males just hang around the horse waiting for the females. After breeding, the females need a blood meal to finish the life cycle and lay their eggs. One bite from a midge can raise the histamine levels (what causes itchiness) for 1 hour before returning to normal. This is the immediate reaction.

Some horses also have a delayed itchy reaction to the bite. One night of midges’ unrestricted access to an allergic horse can take 3-6 weeks to resolve ... even if the horse receives no new bites.

That is why it is important to have the best control possible.

A good study about sweet itch in horses in British Columbia gives us some other clues. The midges prefer certain areas on the horse:

Image source: The Hypersensitivity of Horses to Culicoides Bites in British Columbia, Gail S. Anderson, Peter Belton and Nicholas Kleider, Can Vet J Volume 29

We think that they land in these areas and climb down the hairs to the skin. Then the female will bite multiple times during the 5-10 minute feeding period per midge.

We need to really concentrate on protecting these areas.

Clinically, I've found that for an allergic horse, it is best to start with twice-a-day treatments focusing on these regions. Sometimes using a soft cloth or mitt allows for a more effective way to apply Ecovet. On the tail head, mane and withers, I have advised some clients to use the stream setting on the bottle to penetrate these areas more effectively.

Other tips include stabling at night if possible and using fans in the stall areas because midges are weak fliers. Once the allergic reaction starts, contact your veterinarian to discuss ways of deceasing the severity of the allergic reaction.

As they say, an ounce of prevention ...

Before and After: Conga's Story

Ute from Ohio kindly shared these photos of her beautiful mare, Conga, before and after Ecovet. She says:

“[My mare] was covered in bumps from bug bites. Applying the product was a little bit of a shock ... the odor was very strange, but within a couple of minutes, the tail swishing seized and she seemed so much more comfortable. In [the after] picture she is no longer covered in bumps and grazing in peace.”

Many thanks to Ute and Conga! We are so happy Ecovet helped get rid of those bumps.

Before and After: Azzy's Story

Thanks so much to Lisa for sharing her donkey's before-and-after Ecovet story! We are happy Azzy has found some relief from sweet itch with Ecovet.

"Ecovet Fly Spray has been a miracle for my donkey who has suffered from Sweet Itch every Spring to Fall. As you can see from the before picture, he wore a fly mask, hood, sheet, leg wraps and even hoof boots because he would chew and rub almost his whole body. He had sores all over his belly that needed daily washing and medicating. After trying Ecovet (thanks to a FB group) he has a full mane and tail, a hairy healthy belly and does not need ANY fly protection at all. I used to dread warm weather but thanks to Ecovet we can spend time doing fun things now and its no longer a stressful time for both of us."

-- Lisa M. in Connecticut

Can My Horse Get Chikungunya Virus?

It’s in the news a lot these days. (As if Lindsay Lohan needed another problem in her life.)

Chikungunya (pronunciation: chik-en-GUN-ye) virus (CHIKV) is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. It literally means "that which bends up" in an African dialect. The most common symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.

The virus was first identified in the mid-1950s but most of us were not too concerned because it resided in the Eastern Hemisphere.

That all changed in 2014. CHIKV jumped to the Americas with a profound impact in the Caribbean. It is estimated that over 1 million cases occurred this past year. Again, a lot of us said “Oh well, I’m not planning any riding in the Dominican Republic anytime soon.” Most of the cases seen in the U.S. were travel-related. However, Florida did have some isolated cases of local transmission.

What does 2015 have in store for us as far as CHIKV, and what does it mean for our horses? One of the reasons CHIKV did not spread much farther is that it is primarily carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has a limited range in the U.S.

 

We can learn from how the virus has acted in the rest of the world. If CHIKV were carried by the Asian Tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, things might be drastically different. Its normal range covers the Eastern Seaboard. An even scarier thought is that CHIKV has previously mutated and shown to be carried in exactly that way.

There is limited experimental evidence with CHIKV in horses, but we do have some clues. We know that horses can be very sensitive to theses types of virus (EEE, EVE, West Nile). Studies from Indonesia report that horses have shown an immune response to virus by developing antibodies to infection, but no horses have been documented to show a persistent spread of virus through the blood or virema. In fact, one study from the 1960s purposefully injected horses to evaluate their reaction and could not document any adverse effects or persistent viremia.

So, it is thought that horses have finally got one thing going for them against the nasty world of viruses. This was also confirmed in discussions with veterinary virologists from CHIKV endemic areas such as India and Venezuela. Although the disease is present there in high numbers, it does not seem to cause disease in horses but is definitely a problem in humans and non-human primates.

The best protection? Wear a good insect repellent and make sure that you apply it frequently.

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