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Discussion Starter #1
When I went to ride my horse today I noticed little bugs all over my horse's body. They looked like specks of dirt until you look closer and see that they are moving a little. They may have been there for a long time because I am recovering for an injury so my horses have been blanketed for almost 2 months without a whole lot of attention to grooming. He has 2 small bald spots (a little bigger then the size of a quarter) on each of his sides in the same place. At first I thought they were rain rot (which would have been weird cause hes been blanketed) but now I think they might be related to the bugs. He also seemed unusually sapped of energy when I rode him, although that may or may not be related to the bugs. They might be on my other horse but I'm not sure because she is rose grey and it would be nearly impossible to see them on her coloring.

Does anybody have a guess at what these might be? And if you do, how do you treat it?
 

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It could be fleas or mites or some other kind of parasite. What color are they and if you don't mind me asking, what general area of the world are you located in?
 

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could be fleas? in that case all you need is flea shampoo...alot of it...those are the only small dirt colored bugs i can think of.

Not to mention since they suck blood they can be related to energy loss and since they itch it might explain the bald spots?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
They are dark brown or black. I am in the seattle area and it has been a very wet, rainy winter with tons of mud unfortunently.
 

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Sounds like lice to me! Just zap them with a lice treatment and ou should be good. Do they have contact with any livestock over fences, etc.?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They occassionally are around my chickens but other then that they are never around any other farm animals.
 

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This is the season for lice- and they are species specific so you don't need to worry about them getting on you, or your chickens or vice versa. Some lice powder will clear them up, and wash the blanket. The sores sound like blanket rubs with them being in the same place on both sides. It is likely that the lack of energy is more due to him being out of work for a couple of months than parasites. If you are still unsure, capture the little nasties and put some in a bag and take to the vet for positive ID.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I dont think the sores are blanket rubs because they are in the wrong spot for blanket rubs and I've never had a problem with this blanket giving him sores.
I will try to get some lice treatment for him. Should I put some on my other horse too even though I'm not sure if she has them or not?
 

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all of a sudden my head itches. I'd vouch for the lice. does it look like this?



given the history you provided, I think the sores may be blanket rubs, or maybe the horse is attempting to rub/itch on account of the little ******s.
 

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baaaahhh! seahorseys, now you have me itching.... And I agree, maybe the blanket does not normally rub there, but the lice would be making him very itchy and it could be from trying to rub and scratch.
 

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Fleas are highly unlikely parasites on horses, but lice would be a definite possibility. Many tick/flea shampoos and fly sprays are also effective against lice, however winter weather makes shampooing hard. You can also find powders that treat lice on animals. Call your vet and ask what products he would recommend that you use that can be found in your area.

To treat lice you have to treat every 10 days for 3 treatments to break the life cycle. Be sure and clean the blanket too, though lice do not survive for long off of their host.
 

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Ryle, I'm glad you're here. I have noticed that our horses don't get fleas even when they are in the barn and our dogs have them. Why do they not? Do fleas just not like them?
 

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When our horses had lice we used a liquid treatment - you just dribble a line from their poll down the back to the rump. Only had to do it once and it worked a treat. not sure if you have something similar in the US?
 

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We don't have a lot of pour on options here, the shampoos and powders are much kinder on the horse and work quite effectively.
 

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And even the pour ons won't generally clear up an infection in 1 treatment because you will have eggs attached to the hairs that will hatch out at a later date.
 

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Ryle, I want you to come and take my exams for me- you are so awesome and knowledgeable!!! Parasitology on friday, what do you say? =P
 

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Fair enough - Seemed to work on our horses though. The bottle says it gets absorbed into the blood stream and lasts a certain while - Don't remember the whole lot as this was a few years ago.

Our horses got them from being in contact with bulls over the fence who had them.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I was able to find a powder treatment and used that on both of my horses. I will have to remember to treat them again in 10 days :). Thank you everybody for being so helpful.
 
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