WHAT CAUSES QUEENSLAND ITCH?
Allergies are an exaggerated reaction by the body due to an imbalanced response from the immune system.
Environmental factors initiate the immune response. In the case of Queensland Itch, the allergic response is due to the proteins in the saliva of midges. This results in inflammation and irritates the horse’s skin/coat.
HOW TO HELP PREVENT QUEENSLAND ITCH?
To help reduce the irritation and inflammatory response naturally, the correct nutrient intake can have a great impact on prevention. This can work well in conjunction with fly-sheets to limit the insect bites and reducing the insect exposure in the environment.
Due to the nature of the condition, which is influenced by genetics and environment, a combination of the following supplements may be needed. It is a matter of trialling a combination and monitoring the response. All horses should be treated as individuals.
- CEN Oil is a trusted high-quality source of Omega 3 for horses and will help reduce irritation due to the anti-inflammatory properties.
- CEN Gold is another source of Omega 3 and helps reduce inflammation and assists the immune system. The formulation activates the NRF-2 pathway to help the body heal itself and also inhibits the COX-2 enzyme to help provide pain and inflammation relief.
- CEN CF50 there are also some common deficiencies of minerals and vitamins that can influence inflammatory and allergic reactions. These include magnesium, zinc and copper, as well as selenium and vitamin E. CEN CF50 has all these nutrients covered in a healthy fibre-based pellet.
- CEN XtraBalance is another great product for horses suffering QLD Itch as it strengthens the gut health and removes toxins, promoting a stronger immune system. Also, the organic humates enhance nutrient absorption. In particular fatty acids, biotin, zinc and copper which all help improve skin/coat quality and condition.
WHERE DOES QUEENSLAND ITCH OCCUR?
Although Queensland Itch occurs throughout Australia it is the tropical and subtropical parts where the blight is worst.
Queensland itch also occurs in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. 32% of all horses in Australia are said to be allergic to Queensland itch, though the spread figures are not available.
Want to learn more? Listen to the CEN Nutrition Podcast here.
Written by Bryan Meggitt (BMedSc. PGCrtMedSc.)
Biochemist / Senior Scientist and Co-founder of CEN Horse Nutrition
Bryan is passionate about improving equine health through nutrition according to science & nature.