If you’re a horse owner, it’s not “if” you’ll ever have to deal with lice, it’s more like “when”. The good news is that lice are generally fairly simple to treat, and perhaps most importantly, species specific, which means you and your family can’t catch them from your horse.
There are two kinds of lice that affect horses, those that survive by eating the dander and shed skin, and those that suck blood. Lice are most prevalent in the winter months, as they thrive in the thick winter coats. As you can imagine, Miniature Horse coats are particularly appealing.
All horses can get lice – even the best cared for horses can end up with some creepy crawly passengers, but by being observant and catching infestation early, you can keep your horse comfortable and improve their health.
The symptoms of lice are probably not unexpected – itchiness, rubbed areas on the coat, and in more serious cases, even poor doing horses, dull hair coats and anemia. Some horses are just itchy and aren’t diagnosed, but if you clip your horse in the spring and they have those little dark coloured flecks in their coat, it’s a pretty safe bet they had an unnecessarily itchy winter with their stowaways.
Treating with an ivermectin dewormer will combat blood sucking lice, and Dusting Powder will take care of the dander eating lice. If you have one horse showing symptoms in your herd, every horse needs to be treated or it’s likely you’ll miss a low level infestation that can then spread through the herd all over again. The good news is that a can of Dusting Powder is only about $15 and will do an awful lot of horses. Dust them all over, especially down the topline, making sure to get it through the hair and down to the skin, until you have a herd of fluffy powdered donuts. Then write down the date, as you will have to retreat in 2 weeks time to kill any lice that hatched after the first treatment.
That’s it, now you’ll have happy, comfortable, healthy coated horses!