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A pilot qualitative investigation of stakeholders’ experiences and opinions of equine insect bite hypersensitivity in England

Lomas, H. and Robinson, P.A. (2018) A pilot qualitative investigation of stakeholders’ experiences and opinions of equine insect bite hypersensitivity in England. Veterinary Sciences, 5 (1).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5010003


Equine insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH), commonly known as sweet itch or summer eczema, is a frustrating recurrent skin disease in the equine industry involving an immune reaction to the bites of Culicoides spp. midges. To investigate the impact of IBH in the field, an exploratory pilot study was conducted with equine stakeholders in one region of central England. Nine semi-structured,face-to-face interviews were conducted with horse owners and an equine veterinarian. The aim was to gain an understanding of experiences with IBH, and to gauge opinions on the value of the various management strategies horse owners use to control IBH. Awareness of IBH was generally high, particularly in those individuals who had previous experience with the condition. Those with previous experience of IBH commented on the significant effect on daily routines, and the associated cost implications. Most participants supported an integrated approach to hypersensitivity management, and this most commonly involved a combination of physical barriers and chemical repellents, but sometimes included feed supplementation. Overall, attitudes towards IBH suggested that the condition is a notable welfare and economic concern for stakeholders, but veterinary involvement tended to only be in more severe cases. Further research is required in the future to improve understanding, management and potential treatment of this condition.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: equine insect bite hypersensitivity, sweet itch, stakeholder opinions and experiences, semi-structured interviews, qualitative research
Divisions: Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2018 17:40
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2018 12:10
URI: http://hau.collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/17245

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