Horse lice also known as equine lice are not very common, but infestations occur occasionally. The best part is that they are easy to control. Both of the general types of lice-the biting one and the sucking one can affect your horse. Biting lice only gnaw the dead skin and hair follicles, whereas the sucking lice burrow their mouths into the flesh and suck the blood of your horse. Infestations of horse lice occur in the winter season. Most often they are found in the head, mane, and base of the tail. They lay their eggs which are also called nits in these areas and render in increasing the problem. To understand the problem of horse lice and cure it, navigate through the following account.
Signs of Horse Lice
Itching is the most obvious sign that shows an infection in the horse regarding lice. The infected horse scratches anything available like stalls and posts. The whole body can be an abode of the lice but the most affected areas include the base of the tail, jaw area, neck, flanks, and shoulders. When there is too much itching, a horse may even chew or bite if the infected area is accessible. The itching can turn so severe that the horse becomes unendurable and bad-tempered.
Effects of Horse Lice
Your horse can be adversely affected by the invasion of lice. It may cause irritability, uneasiness, loss of hair, and anemia (because sucking lice cause blood loss). The horse rubs itself against things to be relieved of the incessant itching which results in bleeding and often in open wounds. These open wounds attract other infections.
Transfer of Horse Lice
Horse lice can be transferred in several ways. The commonest of them is contact with an infected horse. Horse lice can stay away from their host only for a short period. They get transferred to another horse if it is conveniently reachable. These lice can also be transferred from one horse to another through the use of the same grooming tool that is used on an infected and then a healthy horse, infected bedding material, and certain types of flies that accidentally carry the lice from horse to horse.
Treatment of Horse Lice
Horse lice can be treated by the following methods:
- Horse lice can be treated by the use of sprays like Pyrethroid insecticides which should be sprayed over every part of the skin. Care must be taken that the infected horse is completely soaked in it.
- Treat the horse grooming kit thoroughly with an insecticide or a mixture of water and bleach.
- If the weather is warm, you can use shampoos on your affected horse. Treating your horse lice with shampoo may call for a minimum of three treatments.
- Keep the stalls sanitized.
- Insecticidal dust help in killing the population of lice. To kill any successive hatchlings, you have to retreat this treatment after two weeks.
- Clean the bedding or get new bedding for your horse, thus none of the lice lays hidden in its bedding.
- Have follow-up treatments for every horse, as they can not destroy the nits.
You should always seek veterinarian care for your horse if you are unsure about the diagnosis or treatment of lice on your pet animal. Periodically check for horse lice. Always consult an experienced veterinarian before treating your horse. Horse lice affect your horse from time to time but a healthy, groomed, and well-fed horse is less likely to suffer from this problem, so take good care and do not share grooming kits, bedding, etc., and follow the tips given above for a healthy and horse lice free horse.
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