Sox For Horses Offers a Barrier to Not-So-Sweet Itch

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At Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, equine immunologist Bettina Wagner is leading a project looking at development of equine summer eczema (an allergen commonly called ‘sweet itch’) in hopes that research into equine immune response can lead to better treatment or prevention of the painful condition. For the study, she imported a herd of Icelandic horses ‘immunologically naïve’ (i.e., never exposed to the allergen) caused by small, biting insects and midges.

“Very allergic horses lose weight in the summer because they are running and hiding,” Wagner said. “They are trying to get away from the insects.”

Since Sox for Horses were first introduced to veterinarians at the 2013 AAEP Convention, equine care experts are taking a closer look at considering protective pull-on (not bandage) equine leg wear as a breathable barrier between healing skin and its environment.

“Leg sores have hit epidemic proportions in areas like southern Florida, where flies never go away,” said Steve Soule, DVM, with Palm Beach Equine Medical Centers of Florida and New York, and a USEF Veterinarian since 1978. He has successfully used SFH Silver Whinnys as a “breathing barrier” between flies and his equine clients’ sores during healing.

The pull-on, wearable barriers do not “heal,” per se, but create an environment that encourages healing. Silver Whinnys keep sores and wounds protected from disease- and allergen-carrying flies, as well as environmental dirt. The antimicrobial silver in the yarn inhibits the grown of bacteria and fungi in the socks, the breathable knit allows air to reach the skin surface, and the moisture-managing properties of the yarn keep skin surfaces dry while contributing to healing and recovering. For severe skin issues, Sox For Horses suggests replacing the protected area with a clean set of Silver Whinnys every 24 hours, and in extreme cases, changing them twice daily.

Sox For Horses, Inc. is an American-made product and company that has been helping owners better help equines since 2007. Visit www.soxforhorses.com or call (850) 907-5724.