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June 11, 2013

Fighting ticks and black flies on horses? (and mosquitoes in the yard)

Posted in: Cats for cat people, Dogs for dog lovers, Horses for the horse crazy

I have pulled ticks off our horses at times, as well as off myself. It seems we can only keep our fingers crossed that no one (horse or person) contracts Lyme disease, as there are no vaccinations against it that I’ve heard of to date, except for in dogs.

It is a daunting challenge to protect a horse from ticks. Personally I think insect/fly sprays used on horses are virtually ineffective and don’t last longer than a few minutes. I have no idea how you would go about stopping ticks, OR how you could ever seriously inspect an animal the size of a horse. The ticks I have found on horses have been mostly by chance; they can be felt, and often cause a swelling or thickened area. But then, so do the biting black flies.

Sadly, New England states are epicenters for Lyme-disease-bearing ticks… although I have been in areas of Tennessee and North Carolina which had TONS MORE ticks (based on personal observations). Thank goodness there don’t seem to be so MANY ticks in south/central New Hampshire! It seems that Lyme has now spread as far south as Virginia, if not further.

Also sadly, poor horses are simply magnets for biting insects of all sorts. What a huge target they make! I HAVE found that “Swat” fly-repellent ointment (I use clear, NOT pink) is a great deterrent to black flies. I apply it inside my horses’ ears, on their sheath areas and inside thighs, and to chest and armpits if they get bite irritations there. Applying every few days seems to work because Swat is like vaseline and just stays in place. One of our boys has skin more sensitive than the other to fly bites, and he gets more bumps/itchy places.

Tips for Tackling Ticks

The Best Green Ways to Rid Your Yard of Ticks and Mosquitoes

Above articles [Care2] have several links to “green” tick and mosquito repellers, including DIY insect repellents you can make.

Has anyone tried any of these repellents with horses or dogs?

6 ways to beat mosquitoes naturally

See Peaches’ posts on Big Stinky and fly control.

See Bug products worth the cost and effort? at BestHorsePractices.com

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