UPDATE: Sandelee (Part 2)

UPDATE: Sandelee (Part 2}

I am happy to report that after the last week of addressing Sandelee’s issues as a mite issue, she is much improved (though still itching some). This is what I did over the last week.

  • Changed out her bedding completely, spraying for mites and then topping with soaked zeolite bedding pellets. As it was compacting and not a comfortable place to lay down, I then added fine shavings on top, which Sandelee seemed to appreciate as she had a good roll in it!
  • Bought a product called Ultra Boss, a pyrethrin based product, which is supposed to be applied to the base of the mane and top of tail. I first applied it to the mane (though not on the skin itself) and waited a couple of days to make sure she didn’t have a reaction of any kind and that it would be functional. The itching seemed to stop on the front half of her but she was still scratching her tail, so this morning I also treated the tail (with no signs of a negative reaction with it on her mane) I would have preferred to bathe her as it is finally warm enough but we have no hot water access out at the barn and with her thick coat it would be really hard to dry. I still may do that but hoping the current strategy works so she doesn’t have to be shaved and bathed.
  • After treating all of the barn with Ultra Boss, I then made a diatomaceous earth and herbal blend to mix into the shavings. Not only does it smell great, but will add a nice protective layer into the shavings so it will combat the mites without spraying chemicals on all their bedding. Chemicals have their time and place but I try to limit their use as much as possible. However, sometimes natural is just not strong enough but can be used side by side with chemicals for better effects.
  • I am continuing to treat Sandelee’s rubbed spots, hair is starting to grow back in and she is no longer scratching to the degree of harming herself, though she does have some very short patches of hair now!
  • I am also adding into Sandelee’s regular herbs Viral Down and Cootie Kicker to help boost her immune system and flush toxins out of her body, not only from the steroids (which have done their job and are no longer needed) but also because a low immune system attracts bugs. This is shown in the fact that none of the other horses are having an issue other than an occasional itch, which could be bugs or just…in need of a good itch.
  • I also attacked the chicken coop this weekend with DE and herbs, and will be more proactive on keeping bugs away from the chickens. There are no active signs of pests bothering the chickens but as it is most likely chicken mites that is bothering Sandelee, its best to keep things under control so we don’t have to deal with these issues again!

Herbs used in making my DE/herbal blend include: Neem, Ginger, Wormwood, Lemon Balm, Anise, Clove and Cayenne. The blend got the horses licking and chewing and the chickens didn’t seem to mind. I also bought neem oil so I could do a more thorough spraying of the barn (there are too many spiders in it anyway…YUCK!) I’ll be keeping a close eye on Sandelee and the itching, and hopefully the old lady will hang around a bit longer! Even with all the treatments, forcing her to take medications, and rubbing healing creams into her sores, she is still the sweetest most forgiving girl and we appreciate every day we have with her!

It took me a while to get this all figured out because, well, we’ve never had an issue like this before…and especially because it happened in winter when the mites should be inactive! But this just goes to show the importance of not giving up on an issue and pressing in until a solution is found. While everything cannot be completely fixed, everything can be improved even if eventually a point comes when no more improvements can be made. I have had this happen with chronically ill horses that I’ve had to say goodbye to. Fortunately, this time was a fairly easy fix, and not a life ending problem.

Enjoy your day Sandelee! The sun finally came out. =)


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