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Bites and stings

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Feb. 2010-02-21

C. Edgar Sheaffer, VMD

Bonnie M. Sheaffer, RN

“I need help with my horse. He spends all of his time scratching.”

How long has this been going on?

“It started in the early spring, and still controls him into this month (October). Our vet gave Azium that stopped him from itching for a few days. We have been giving that drug and various antihistamine drugs all spring and summer. Since he was no better, we stopped all drugs last month.”

Is he better inside the barn?

“We no longer have a barn. He rubbed the walls and posts until they were destroyed.”

What kind of fence do you have?

“Only temporary electric fence survived. The rascal rubbed on the permanent posts and took out the wooden fence; our horses were running all over the neighborhood. We had to pay to restore one neighbor’s lawn. We are not very popular in the neighborhood.”

Allergic Dermatitis

In an age when feeds are extruded and over-processed and vaccination occurs often, animals are prone to become hyper-sensitized to an array of environmental stimuli. Flies and other dipterans are blood feeding causing great irritation to horses, cattle, sheep and other livestock.

‘In certain species, only females feed on vertebrate blood which is required for egg laying; these include black flies, sand flies, biting midges,

mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies. In other species of blood feeding dipterans both male and female flies feed on vertebrate blood; these species

include stable flies, horn flies, buffalo flies, tsetse flies, sheep keds and hippoboscid or louse flies.’ [The Merck Veterinary Manuel, 9th ed. 2005, pg 715]


“No-see-ums” or punkies are vicious biters and cause intense irritation and annoyance. These dipterans swarm in warm damp weather and are most active before and during dusk. They are encountered around streams, ponds and marshes inflicting painful bites on livestock and humans. Culicoides are tiny - only one to three mm long - hence the name “No-see-ums”. If there is mud in warm weather, expect Culicoides attacks.

Affected Equines will be diagnosed with sweet-itch, Queensland itch, sweat-itch and related maladies associated with hyper-sensitivities to the bite of blood sucking dipterans. These suffering animals spend most of their waking hours scratching, rubbing and even biting themselves. Herds of livestock become so irritated and distressed that they put off eating.

It is wonderful to have natural answers to relieve suffering. There are non-toxic therapies for the sick and remedies for prevention as well.

The stings of dipterans, spiders and ticks are venomous and often carry other diseases. For example, Lyme disease has Ixodes ticks as a primary vector, and Equine encephalomyelitis is carried by several species of mosquitoes. The following homeopathic medicines should be in your kit to be used as an aid in prevention of tick borne disease.

  1. Ledum palustre – wound is painful but not always hot; pain relieved by cold applications and ice. Take higher potencies orally and apply lower potencies topically in form of pastes, gels and liquids.

“In Sweden a decoction of Ledum is used for freeing oxen and pigs from lice. This anti-parasitic action led (Dr.) Teste to consider Ledum as a remedy for bites and puncture wounds…The success which has attended this use of Ledum in mosquito bites, stings of bees and wasps, rat bites, needle pricks resulting in whitlows, confirms the observation. Redness, swelling and throbbing in point of index finger from the prick of a needle: Ledum cured a felon in a few days (W. P.

Wesselhoeft). Teste relates a case of puncture wound: a young lady fell with an embroidery needle in her hand, and the hand was pierced through and through. The wound was serious. There was no hemorrhage, but he observed the intense cold which accompanies and characterizes Ledum fever. Within a week Ledum cured the patient.” [A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica by John Henry Clarke, MD. vol. II, pg. 261]

“Our dog had a high titre for Lyme disease. Two months after dosing her with Ledum 1M once weekly, the numbers and Western Blot had dropped into the negative range. The veterinarian had never seen a sharp decline of Lyme numbers in such a short time. K. D. New York.

  1. Apis mellificaWound is hot, red, puffy and painful and pain is relieved by cold applications. Dose orally every two or three hours for up to 5 doses.

  2. Urtica urens - Wound develops a stinging and itching rash, relieved by warm applications. Dose every three hours for up to five doses.

  3. Arsenicum album – Wound develops into a pustular eruption with offensive odor that is better from hot soaks. Dose every two hours as needed.

  4. Lachesis muta – Dark blisters or pustules which become purplish blue in color and bleed easily. Wounds calling for Lachesis muta and Arsenicum album are purulent and become gangrene-like in appearance. Dose hourly as needed.


  1. Buzz X – Herbal spray prepared to help large and small animals that are annoyed by mosquitoes and attacked by ticks. It may be applied as frequently as necessary. Please protect the eyes from the mist.

“We hike in the woods with our dogs in all seasons. Buzz X keeps the mosquitoes at bay, and has dramatically reduced the number ticks on us and our hiking companions.” A. L. Pennsylvania

  1. Dr. Sheaffer’s Coat Conditioner – A liquid preparation for spraying or sponging unto the coat of large and small animals. Coat Conditioner improves the health of skin and hair, and aids in repelling fleas and other dipterans; it is helpful in eliminating lice from the coats of organic livestock.

“Ever since we have been applying Dr. Sheaffer’s Coat Conditioner twice weekly our pets no longer have fleas.” J. H. Illinois.
“The horses and dogs have such soft coats. We apply Dr. Sheaffer’s Coat Conditioner once or twice weekly. Our previous Culicoides problem has virtually been eliminated.” B. C. California

“My dairy cows had lice last winter. Some were so restless that they shook off the milking machines. Since I am certified organic no traditional chemical insecticides are available to me. We applied the Coat Conditioner twice in five days, and the results were remarkable.” A. S. Pennsylvania

3. Flee Away – Formulated for dogs and cats, this oral supplement can be added to food at the rate of one drop per pound per day. The nutrition of Flee Away includes organic apple cider vinegar and organic garlic and improves the health of the coat while repelling ticks and insects.

  1. Fastrack /direct fed microbial – Seventy-five to eighty percent of the immune system is connected to the GI track. Until recently, concern for GI health has long been neglected by conventional veterinary practitioners. We have observed that large and small animals receiving direct fed microbials have more efficient food conversion, improved production, and glossy coats. In addition, they appear clinically to become more resistant to bacterial and viral infections.

“Our three year lab used to have hot spots spring and fall. It usually took weeks of antibiotics and Prednisolone to clear it, and often he would relapse and require more drugs. Last spring you prescribed Fastrack Canine gel. The hot spots healed in three days and did not come back. Thanks for introducing us to direct fed microbials.” C. W. Pennsylvania

  1. Preservative free whole foods/ quality forage – All species of animals

should be fed a diet as close to the original as possible. Dogs and cats are carnivores, doing well on a grain free diet. Ruminants and Equines have thrived for thousands of years on grasses. When forced to eat high grain diets, longevity is sacrificed and the immune system suppressed.



It is always best for the homeopathic prescriber to choose a medicine based on the total symptom picture, rather than just shooting from the hip. The itchy horse responded to a combination of Fastrack Equine Gel,

Ledum 200C and topical Coat Conditioner spray. Such severe cases require an integrative approach. Fastrack improves the health of the patient, the homeopathic medicine decreased the allergic reaction to the Culicoides, and the topical Coat Conditioner sent the dipterans packing.

Submitted by: C. Edgar Sheaffer, VMD

Bonnie M. Sheaffer, RN

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