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Investigation of Insect Bite Hypersensitivity IBH and Pruritus in Equids and Research into the Concept of a Smart Textile Delivery Systems to Treat the Condition

Perkins, Tanya (2019) Investigation of Insect Bite Hypersensitivity IBH and Pruritus in Equids and Research into the Concept of a Smart Textile Delivery Systems to Treat the Condition. Masters thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Equine insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is an allergic pruritic skin disorder and is the most common cause of skin complaint in horses effecting 5% of approximately 900,000 equines in the United Kingdom and caused by the insect bites of the genus midge, Culicoides, and the black fly, Simuliidae. Pruritus is a broader term that encompasses all skin complaints such as summer eczema, pollen, dust and feed allergy’s, and photosensitivity. There has been little advancement toward more effective treatment for any of these skin conditions, and the current practice has not demonstrated any progress for an effective treatment for pruritus. In this study current treatment of the condition and the experiences of the stakeholders were investigated to asses existing procedures used to treat IBH and pruritus; and alternative methods of delivering medication through a textile-based system were explored. In order to accomplish the aims of the study a mixed method process was followed to collate data from the equestrian industry, identifying any patterns in treatment and conditions of the horses. Additionally, members from Horse and Hound an east midlands equine forum, provided the information relevant to the concerns of the condition through a piolet study, and were instrumental in the development of the survey. The on-line survey provided responses from 56 stakeholders giving a broader spectrum of current practises and treatment. The same themes of environment, location, experience, current treatment was investigated; including current horse blanket use, food supplements and what participants would like to see in future treatments and protective horse blankets. The same themes were repeated and followed throughout the questionnaire and survey, and during the face to face interviews. The data gathered through the face to face interviews and the on-line survey showed that (80%) of the participants felt there was no advancement in the condition; and their frustrations in combating the condition had not changed. The survey data showed (2%) of the participants were male. 18 different equine breeds were assessed, with the most effected breed of equine being the heavy equine breed. Current treatment practice for IBH and pruritus provided a baseline for future treatments. Protective horse blankets were still the most relevant in combating the condition; the face to face interviews provided comparable results for horse blankets as a primary source to combat the condition and provided in-depth information on the everyday impact in treating IBH and pruritus. Based on the above research, the study proposes to explore various functional textile properties to provide a more effective protective horse blanket that has optimal medicine delivery and enhances current technique of treating pruritus.

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