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GreySorrel 05-16-2012 08:39 AM

Tick bites
Last week I was out feeding my horses, as as I do every evening, checking their flanks for ticks. I had been gone to the beach all week and had forgotten to ask my husband to do this. My QH mare, Lucy, had 2 HUGE bites with ticks still in them, one not quite swollen, the other dead but still attached. I got the ticks out but the bites were hot, very itchy, leaking puss and purulent fluid, and the size of a marble.

Called the vet, as this was on a Friday night, he called back and we discussed what to do, as I have never had them react like this to a tick bite before. He recommended I put hot compresses on the bites, clean her well but don't rub as it could inflame the bites and skin, and to put a hydrocortizone cream on them. Did that twice a day for the weekend but come Monday, the bites were now the size of grapes and still VERY itchy and still leaking sanguineous fluid. Vet had called to see how she was doing and when I told him how it now looked, he came out to check it and we put her on methylprednisolone for 5 days.

Anyone have any bad reactions? Seems worse this year than it has in the past and I am often times feeling I am fighting a loosing battle with these little boogers!

HagonNag 05-16-2012 12:39 PM

Our 20 yr. old OTTB always has had awful reactions to tick bites. If we can catch them early, it's not as bad, but if one gets by us, it gets HUGE.
We treat them as you did...and they drain.
He always seems to get problem bites right where his legs meet his body.
Other than using a good fly and tick spray, I don't know what you can do other than check your horse carefully and remove them as promptly as possible. They are CRAZY this year because we had such a mild winter here. All the bugs are crazy!

GreySorrel 05-16-2012 12:49 PM

That is exactly where one of the bites was, other one was on the inside of her flank. I have never seen them this bad! Even our vet said he got a bite at his waist and it swelled up and itched like mad!

Think this is going to be a looooong year for bugs and ticks...what do you use to spray down your horses?

HagonNag 05-16-2012 12:57 PM

We were using a homemade spray which has always worked for us in the past (my husband makes it up, so I can't remember the formula right this minute) but this year we switched to Endure...mainly because it's long-lasting on their coats and the insects this year are awful! We always make sure to really coat their tail hairs.....and then when they swish for flies, they're (hopefully) killing a few more! We've always used crocheted ear protectors when we ride in the summer, but this year for the first time, we are actually thinking about fly masks on the trail. A ride 2 weeks ago was terrible: my horse is fleabit grey and light colored horses always seem to get the worst of it.

clavoie 05-16-2012 06:05 PM

My guy Bill get HORRIBLE recations to the bites like you describe. Some swell to the size of about a plum. I always get worried he has pigeon fever since he always gets bit under his chest, but I find a little crusty scab on the absess pull it off, slap some icthomol on it, and it usually drains in a day or two.
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