Safe Removal Of Ticks Imperative To Horse Health

Ticks are prevalent in many areas of the country this year and keeping them off horses can seem like a never-ending battle. Though the tiny, hard-bodied arachnids are difficult to see, removing them is imperative to keeping horses free from the life-threatening diseases they carry.

Ticks are equipped with powerful jaws, so removing them from a horse can be difficult. Though it can be tempting, don’t crush or twist the tick when trying to get it off the horse. Although many people try, smothering the tick with baby oil or petroleum jelly or touching the tick with a lit match isn’t the best strategy. It can potentially cause more harm if the tick regurgitates blood into the horse, increasing the risk of disease transmission. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, equine infectious anemia, piroplasmosis or equine granulocytic anaplasmosis.

Tick bites make horses itchy, but in large numbers they can cause more than just discomfort: they can cause enough blood loss to make the horse anemic. The best way to remove a tick is to use tweezers and grab the tick where it’s attached to the skin. Using a steady force, pull the tick straight out and wash the area with an antiseptic solution.

Horse owners who are unsure what types of ticks thrive in their area should contact their local extension agent.

Read more at EquiMed.

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