I have a horse who has suffered a lot during the warm seasons. It was made worse when we moved north (we're in the Southern hemisphere - so north is warmer) and there were more biting insects. I was treating her for Queensland itch as set out in this post How to treat Queensland itch?.

This helped, but it was clear there was another issue holding her back. Neck Threadworms. (insert ominous music, they're awful)

I have placed her on a vigorous program to treat her for neck threadworms and will share the process and our progress.

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The Background

She had been treated for Queensland Itch, but was a mess when I checked under her rug. She shouldn't have been such a mess, as the Queensland Itch was well treated. The areas of skin abrasion caused from itching were localised around the withers and neck area.

I've continued with the treatment used for Queensland Itch, as it's vital to keep flies and other insects from biting her. She is sponged (instead of spraying) with a Permoxin solution, concentrating on the tail, mane and along the back. I do ensure her face, ears, in the crevices of her legs, tummy and entire legs are covered.

In the Permoxin solution, I've added some iodine to help prevent open sores from becoming infected. The other products I use are Cetrigen, which is an antibacterial and antiseptic and a must in any horse owner's kit. Very handy to spray on any minor wounds. I also apply a zinc cream with tea tree oil, White Healer, which works as an antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic agent, plus provides a zinc barrier to help protect the skin. Another great product to have in a horse owner's kit.

Throughout all of this she is given mineral supplements designed to supplement horses on Australian pasture, particularly pasture high in Oxalates. The prevent the uptake of Calcium and can cause serious health issues as a result of Calcium deficiency. Maintaining good nutrition is vital, particularly when her immune system is so chaotic and destructive to her health.

The Treatment

She was treated with a double dose of Ivermectin. To kill young neck threadworm. One way of diagnosing an allergic reaction to neck threadworm is intense itching 2-3 days after an application of Ivermectin. There's some debate over the efficacy of double dosing Ivermectin and repeating fortnightly, compared to single weekly doses. I chose the double dose, as she has been treated with Ivermectin previously and she was suffering so greatly, it was important to try something more radical to give her relief. The horse's comfort and health is primary.

This is what she looked like two days after treatment. She was an itchy mess in the neck, withers and base of the tail. I stood with her for a long time scratching her to help give her relief. It may not be obvious to non-horsey people, but you can see she's not happy in the pictures (following) taken on that day. You can see that the skin is irritated and raised from the allergic reaction and scratching. I actually used a metal curry comb lightly over her skin a day later to help relieve her itching. It helped removed old scabbing, and I applied a salve of a zinc mixture with tea tree oil afterwards.

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Five to six days after treatment her itching had subsided. The patches in her coat from scratching are larger, but the skin is smooth and soft and no longer irritated. You can see by her facial expression that she is relaxed and relieved. I continued to apply a permoxin solution to her.

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I plan to give her another double dose of Ivermectin, and will document the progress. After these two initial double doses. I will see how she progresses to determine whether she needs more Ivermectin and will only use a single dose. We are now in Autumn here and the neck threadworm lifecycle will slow. So it's vital I am on top of this again next Spring and treat her with this same process and refugular Ivermectin during the summer months. If she is coping well when Spring starts, I will treat her with single Ivermectin doses only.

It should be noted, she cannot be rugged, as there's a minor injury on her leg, above her previous serious injury. This poor horse has a history of terrible neglect and it's not surprising that she struggles with a poor immune system. She gets probiotics and prebiotics frequently and I will start her on some more, as she has a runny nose again (that's for another self answer question). It never ceases to amaze me how kind, stable and good natured this horse is. She truly is an amazing horse. I have done and will do anything and everything possible to give her good health and an enjoyable life.

I look forward to updating with some pics of her with a smooth healthy coat and no itches.

6 weeks later.

Her skin is much better and she is more comfortable. It's not 100% recovered from the scabbing, but almost there. You can see from her coat that she is in better shape. She is partially wet in this pic from a permoxin treatment.

Note Autumn is here, so there's less bugs around. She has settled down and is more comfortable. I kept the treatment regime up and will commence it again in Spring. Today is probably the last day I'll treat her with permoxin until the weather warms up again.

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