bathing horse for treatment from horse lice

How to Treat Lice on Horses

Lice are ectoparasites that survive the skin and in the fur of animals that are commonly over-crowded and/or stressed and seen in animals staying in unhygienic problems.

There are two types of lice and the difference is exactly how they feed. One kind feeds via biting and chewing on hair and dead skin and the other feeds through sucking the blood of the host animal.

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What Are Lice?

Lice are little parasitic bugs that live in the hair layer of horses or other animals. Lice are species-specific, suggesting that bird lice usually won’t live on people or pets, horse lice do not generally infect people.

Lice are flat-bodied bugs. When they are fully expanded, they are just 2 to 4 millimeters in length. In horses, they tend to breed in the thick layers that the horse will grow during the winter season. They can reside in around the horse’s body, including the tail, coat, and hair.

Both species of lice that effect horses are Haematopinus asini (H. asini), the horse sucking type, and Damalinia equi (D. equi), the horse biting type. Both kinds of lice are seen around the world. The horse lice are moved from horse to horse by direct get in touch with or via shared brushes, blankets, and equipment.

horse lice type (male & female)

Signs of Lice on Horses

  1. Itching
  2. Irritated skin
  3. Noticeable raw patches on the skin
  4. Harsh hair coat
  5. Sleepiness

The horse will certainly be extremely itchy, particularly around the base of the head, hair, and tail, although the lice may be all over the horse. As the horse tries to alleviate the itching by scrubing itself on fences, trees, or stall walls, it can massage raw patches right into its skin. It’s possible for a horse to be so uneasy that it will appear lethargic or colicky.

The others may or may not have lice, however the individuals that the lice seem to such as will certainly be a lot more influenced. If the horse is ravaged with the sucking louse, blood loss might be serious adequate to trigger anemia. Winter months and very early spring are when lice are most obvious, as the horse has a long hair layer for the lice to live in.


  • Physical contact with another lice-infected animal
  • Making use of equipment or tools that are lice-infected

Relying on the type of lice, the parasites will either suck the horse’s blood or feed off of dead skin cells. The lice lay eggs called nits in the horse’s hair coat and mane.

These nits will hatch into nymphs that grow into egg-laying adults. Both adults and fairies will certainly cause the itchiness associated with lice.

Normally, horses that are undernourished or in poorer problem are a lot more at risk to lice invasions. Horses healthy have a more powerful body immune system and can usually eradicate an invasion unless they are housed in stressed or bad conditions.

Therapy 1

The very first action is to treat the horse itself with either a topical de-lousing powder or a veterinarian-administered louse medication. Be mindful with applying treatment to any skin that might be irritated as that can create additional troubles.

When making use of the powder, it is very important to see to it the powder permeates right to the horse’s skin. Wear gloves and a dirt mask to prevent contact with the chemicals.

All equipment that might lug lice or nits must be cleaned. Coverings and washable devices can be washed and dried with high warmth, or boiled.

Your vet is your best resource for what to utilize when tackling horse lice problems.

Or by this idea.

Treatment 2

Lice are not usual on horses, and are relatively simple to regulate. There are numerous products readily available for louse control, including sprays, cleans, and wipe-ons.

Horses dewormed regularly with among the macrocyclic lactones (Quest, Mission And Also, ComboCare, Zimecterin, Rotation 1, Ivercare, and so on) may have much less lice issues than untreated horses. Chewing lice are less impacted, however, due to the fact that they feed upon skin and dander instead of blood.

Insecticide sprays (emulsifiable focuses or wettable powders) are offered for use on horses, however several horses do not such as to be sprayed– specifically with a high-pressure spray.

Horses ought to be retreated in concerning two weeks to eliminate young lice that have just hatched out and were not impacted by the first treatment. Pyrethroid pesticides might manage lice with just one therapy.

Constantly read and adhere to the tag directions on any product. For suggestions on details items to utilize on horses, consult your vet.

Saddle coverings, brushes, and other tools utilized on lice-infested horses ought to be treated with very hot water or massaged with an insecticide solution.

Bed linens from a stall that housed a ravaged horse needs to be gotten rid of. The stall can be disinfected (or not utilized for some time) to remove lice the horse left. If one horse in a group gets lice, they are all revealed and need to all be dealt with. Otherwise they will certainly maintain passing the lice around.


Maintaining horses well-fed, not worried, and healthy in a clean environment is excellent avoidance against lice, together with normal cleaning and grooming. “If you are constantly grooming the horse, you will probably scrape a few of those lice off if a horse obtains them. If horses get bathed regularly, this will also interfere with lice,” Clymer says.

If they have lice, they need to be dealt with before being introduced into your herd, says Clymer. They ought to be regularly evaluated for lice, particularly during winter months and specifically if they are maintained in close confinement with other horses, he states.

There are two sorts of lice that impact horses– sucking lice and eating lice– and 3 types. All three live throughout the USA.

The drawing lice are possibly more damaging due to the fact that they can produce anemia as a result of blood loss (leading to weakness or stunted development in young animals), however chewing lice might be a lot more bothersome due to the fact that horses have very sensitive skin.


If you bring a new horse home, it should be kept separate from other horses to see if there are any issues that may obtain handed down to the resident herd.

In a hectic barn, it’s an excellent idea that each horse has its own brushes and equipment since shared pet grooming devices and blankets can spread several skin problems consisting of lice, manage, and ringworm.

If you presume your pet dog is sick, call your veterinarian promptly. For health-related questions, always consult your vet, as they have actually examined your pet, know the pet’s wellness background, and can make the best referrals for your family pet.

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Facts About Lice on Horses

bathing horse for treatment from horse lice

Horses periodically get lice, and a horse proprietor needs to recognize what to try to find and exactly how to treat these annoying parasites.

Expense Clymer, PhD, of Amarillo, Texas (now a livestock parasitologist on the expert services team of Ft Dodge Animal Health And Wellness), has actually collaborated with horses and lice for several years. Previously in his occupation, he was an extension livestock specialist with Texas A&M

Lice occur most usually in horses that are worried, Clymer claims, by insufficient nourishment, a severe wintertime, ailment, injury, and so on “For 20-some years I had my very own research business, doing research study on bloodsuckers.

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I ‘d acquire inexpensive horses that were in poor condition for numerous research study studies, and they ‘d be the ones that would certainly get heavy lice problems.

Lice are host-specific– livestock lice won’t live on horses or vice versa, and fowl lice only live on fowl. Horse lice are brownish and normally are discovered down next to the skin.

There are 2 sorts of lice that influence horses– sucking lice and eating lice– and 3 varieties. The blood-sucking louse is Haematopinus asini, and 2 species of chewing lice are Bovicola trichodectes and equi pilosus. All 3 real-time throughout the USA.

” The drawing lice are most likely extra damaging due to the fact that they can develop anemia because of blood loss (resulting in weak point or stunted growth in young animals), yet chewing lice might be a lot more bothersome due to the fact that horses have very sensitive skin,” he says. “The lice creeping around on the host reason fantastic annoyance.”

Horses with lice appearance unthrifty and harsh, with a scruffy hair layer, and they consistently scrub and scrape. They could have open sores from the rubbing.

Any type of horse that is itching, rolling, or massaging a lot might have lice and should be checked. By the time you see hair loss, the horse has actually been itching for a while. Other points that can cause itching and hair loss are mites or dry skin, so be sure to determine the reason prior to treating the horse.

Horses that get on short feed provisions in winter are much more susceptible to both extreme louse invasion and other illness than horses on full feed and maintained in excellent body problem.

“Horses with lice may be a lot more prone to illness,” Clymer states, “The immune reaction of the animal has a direct effect on lice numbers and efficiency of any type of control products.”

The Life Process

The life cycle of lice varies with the species, with adult women laying in between 20 and 40 eggs. “These hatch after a time, depending upon outside temperature level and exactly how close they are to the skin,” states Clymer.

“The closer they are to the skin, the warmer they are, and the quicker they hatch. They usually hatch out within 2 to 3 weeks, with 30 to 45 days from egg to egg-laying adult.

“Eating lice are most common on the head, mane, base of the tail, and shoulder, while the sucking louse is typically located on the head, neck, back, and the inner surface area of the upper legs,” he keeps in mind.

On impacted dark-colored horses, you may see the little, light prompt the hair. “Eggs are glued to the hair, and might still be there after the larvae hatch out. If you don’t look closely, you may think the horse still has a louse problem, seeing the old eggs– although the caps have broken short and the larvae currently arised,” says Clymer. Vacant egg shells remain there, glued to the hair– like an empty bot egg– till they break off or the hair comes out.

Numerous species of chewing lice have a distinct life cycle. If she lays 40 eggs and 60% of those eggs hatch out and 9 out of 10 of those are ladies, in five generations you might have 300,000 lice (plus or minus) from that one female louse.”


Lice are easily passed from one horse to an additional by physical get in touch with, especially if those horses are confined with each other. “They (lice) can also be spread out by brushes and equipment made use of on greater than one horse, or in a horse trailer.

In a trailer where horses remain in close quarters, touching horse-to-horse might spread lice, or a louse might get off on a side panel and onto the following horse,” claims Clymer. “Horses take into stocks, stalls, or any other area where one more horse was recently confined might select them up.”

Sharing brushes is not a good suggestion; nits (louse eggs) or lice from one horse might have come off in the brush and be ready to clean onto the next horse. Depending upon weather problems, lice can live for a few times off the host, simply waiting for a new host, he says.

“Horses are gregarious; there are lots of possibilities for contamination,” Clymer adds. “Horses grooming each other in the pasture or over the fence, or standing alongside one another swatting flies, might pass lice around. Lice don’t automatically appear with the very first chilly rainfall in autumn and vanish with cozy climate in spring.

There are a couple of provider animals that have lice year-round due to the fact that their body immune systems are such that lice can prosper. These horses act as a source (of lice) for other horses.”

Assume back to where the horse has been if horse lice instantly show up on your horse and you wonder exactly how he got them. You may have gone to a program, obtained a horse trailer, or taken the horse to the vet or a few other area where a louse-infested horse had actually just recently been.

Winter (horse lice problem)

Lice populations raise in winter season, partially due to the fact that horses could be emphasized more in winter, and partly since they have a longer hair layer after that. Hair protects lice from the horse attempting and licking to attack them off.

Lice hang onto the base of the hair as they feed and are just located in unshaven locations of the horse. Wherever hair is missing (from being wiped off) the horse lice gave up biting and leave. If you ride a lice-infested horse in winter months and he ends up being perspiring and warm, the lice come out to the ends of the hair and are simple to see.

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Additional (Horse Lice)

bathing horse from lice

The problem of a horse with lice, called pediculosis, need not trigger panic or alarm system. However, treating impacted horses and staying clear of future problems can be discouraging. Here are 5 quick facts regarding lice and how to deal with a problem.

  1. 2 kinds of lice infest horses, biting (Haematopinus asini) and sucking (Damalinia equi). Each kind normally infests various parts of the horse with biting lice a lot more typically located on the forehead, neck, and side thorax, and sucking lice liking the hair, dock of the tail, fetlocks, and inner gaskins.
  2. Lice spread quickly in between horses in close call. Although horses have some all-natural immunity against lice, similar to they have some all-natural resistance against interior parasites, some threat factors exist, including:
  • High stocking thickness;
  • Sharing blankets, brushes, and various other tools between horses;
  • Poor feed high quality;
  • Gestational standing;
  • Underlying health and wellness problems;
  • Longer body hair (e.g., wintertime coat, feathering); and
  • Season (infestations are much more common in winter months and early spring).

Unlike ticks, no known diseases are transferred between lice and horses. Further, most types of lice are species-specific, suggesting that horse lice do not normally infest human beings.

Even though no particular diseases are sent between louse and horse, lice invasions can be scratchy! Even more, very hefty problems with drawing lice can cause anemia, a decline in flowing red blood cells.

Just recently, one research group * reported that “a single application of the 10 mg/mL deltamethrin preparation was efficient and risk-free in the treatment and in the prevention of lice problem in these horses. It was additionally efficient in preventing new invasions for one month.”


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