Insects can be a nuisance in the summer and an even bigger problem to your horse. Join us in July as we answer your questions concerning wound care during the insect season to July's expert, Dr. Amy Poulin-Braim.
I'm not sure if this falls within the month's topic but I am having a hard time fighting the ticks off of my horse. He has sores, scabs and hair loss in both his mane and tail from the ticks. I have bathed him in betadine shampoo to help and also keep him in fly boots, mask and fly wipe, but they still find their way up to his tailhead and mane. Is there anything else I can be doing to help prevent these ticks from creating more sores and crusts on my horse? Should I be concerned with his sores from the tick bites?
You are not alone! Due to the warm winter we had, ticks & other pests have emerged much earlier than normal! Once ticks find their way to your horse, they tend to migrate towards the forelock, mane & tail bone regions, leaving behind exactly what you describe, an irritated, itchy weaping sore with risidual crust. Some fly repellents do have ingredients that will repel ticks, but tend to need daily application (even if they say lasts 7-14 days), immediately prior to turnout. The product should be applied directly to the forelock (spray repellent onto your hand & rub into the base of the forelock), mane (apply along the topline & underside where the mane falls over onto the neck) & tail (apply directly to the roots of the tail hair at the level of the tail bone & the skin surface on the underside of the bone) - even then, this is not completely preventative. Other ideas to consider are: Pasture maintenance; regular mowing of the pasture & removal of low laying brush, especially where the pasture meets neighboring woods. Daily examination of your horse when you bring in from pasture/daily grooming with physical removal of any ticks found. Removal of stagnant water or regions that can cause increased humidity. Ticks can transmit several different infectious diseases (ehrlichiosis, lyme disease, piroplasmosis), can cause fever of unknown origin and aside from the skin irritations you are now seeing, if the infestation is severe enough can also cause anemia (reduced red blood cell count). Therefore, daily attention to removal of ticks from your horse in combination to pasture mangement as well as consulting with your veterinarian who can provide more tailered information to suite your needs are the best defense you have!
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