Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

Scratch that Itch!
Q My 15.3HH cob suffers from sweet-itch all through spring and summer, even though I apply benzyl benzoate to the affected areas.

I have heard that corticosteroid injections can help - but would they stop him itching forever and do they have any side-effects? Please help as the condition is making his life an absolute misery.

A Sweet-itch is a common problem that causes much aggravation to horses and owners alike. I would not recommend either benzyl benzoate or steroid injections as they are both extremely strong medications.

It's possible to control the problem much more easily using alternative treatments, although veterinary medicines are, of course, essential in severe situations.

In my opinion the best way to approach the problem is homoeopathically, but you'll need a good practitioner for goods results. You will also need to be referred by your own vet and some are not aware of homoeopathic specialists in their area.

You yourself can help speed up the treatment process by sourcing a reputable homeoepath who specialises in horses. Herbal formulae can also be useful. Plant supplements can calm down the skin and help repel flies. There are numerous preparations available, but I find those based on cedar to be the most effective.

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