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Horse allergic to ticks?

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  • Horse allergic to ticks?

    Hello, I mostly just read the post tend to be more shy. I have noticed that there has been numerous posts on ticks lately, so I am reaching for some help. My horse, Felix, current age is 20 Saddlebred. Out on pasture 24/7 with a small barn to come in as he wants, shared with my mare ( Tenn Walker) and 2 very old goats. Felix has never had any problems with ticks or flys in previous years. Usually wears a fly mask in summer and fly spray.
    3 weeks ago I noticed a tick on his throat latch pulled out thought random tick. Later in the week noticed another tick on throat latch area along with a few sores. Called vet to ask if there was a topical product like for dogs/cats. She stated there really wasn't one that is effective. But to check his tail because she has been getting numerous calls with horses coming in with ticks. Went home and was disgusted with what I found. 3 engorged ticks along with numerous sores on tail. Also found a sore on underside of mane, and left side of face. Now when I say a sore it is not an abrasion or puncture but a weepy red raw sore that has some crusty serum around it. I ended up calling the emergency line because of his age and the extent of sores I did not want it to get out of hand. Vet insturcted to dilute some betadine and scrub the sores and tail, rinse real well and apply antibiotic ointment. Vet was already scheduled to come out in a few days for vaccines.
    I did some research on a product called EquiSpot it seems like it either works or it doesn't. The worst I could lose is 15$. Applied it a little over a week ago and did notice that the sores healed and had no ticks or new sores. Yesterday a little over a week after applying EquiSpot a few more spot have shown up on face and tail.
    Ok so if you have read this far thank you. I am not sure where to go with this. I do not want to keep them off of the pasture for the rest of the summer ( can move them to a small dirt lot). Have put his fly sheet on and fly mask on, and has also started to apply Deep Woods Off on his neck, tail, legs.
    I should also mention that my mare who is a "sensitive flower" has to have a fly sheet in summer because of reactions to flys and nats. She has not had any ticks on her nor have I seen any sores from where they have attached.
    Also I am in northern Ohio and have never had a tick problem in the 15 years of having horses here.
    I am going to try and upload pictures from the orginal sores. Hopefully I can figure it out.
    Thank You again for reading this book!!

    Not sure how or if I can upload pictures since I am a newer member and don't have many posts?
    Last edited by HopeMB; Jun. 5, 2013, 12:21 AM. Reason: image

  • #2
    My old gelding used to be very allergic to ticks(way worse than your horse). He would get pingpong ball sized lumps with opening about pencil eraser size draining pus. He also was bothered by flies way more than my TB mare, like they could be standing side by side and he would have 3x as many flies on his legs. I decided to start them both on a garlic supplement. After being on it for about three weeks, no more draining wounds and rarely saw a tick on either of them.


    • #3
      My horse will do this with ticks. My one will swell up from a tick as well as get sores. The best thing I've found is freedom 45 spots. Work much better than the other spot meds out there. By this time of year around here I would have pulled at least 2 dozen ticks off my 4 boys. Last year I started the spots and not 1 tick. This year I've only pulled 2 off my one guy but that was before I started the spots. Since I started not a tick on any of them. This stuff works very well IMO. Most vets don't know how well spot things work for horses. I know my vet and a few I talked to even at the university here didn't realize until I told them the night and day difference for me.
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


      • #4
        Pretty standard reaction to tick bites for many horses.
        No need to invoke "allergy"--just a normal response to an irritant.
        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


        • Original Poster

          Thank you for the response. I guess I was saying an allergic response due to the fact that my other horse who is very sensitive to insects has not had a problem. It seems like every time a tick latches on it turns into a pretty good size weepy oozy sore.
          What amount of garlic did you give to the horse for those that fed it?
          I have also had a recomendation for a product that is sold called Permectin CDS. Seems to be the strongest type of spray out there. Can be applied to horses/cattle/goats/sheep.

          Hope the pictures work
          Last edited by HopeMB; Jun. 6, 2013, 01:07 AM. Reason: image


          • #6
            Gross as they are, they're actually good news in a way--because they're a sign the horse's immune system is resoundingly rejecting the tick, and hopefully any bacterial/spirochete nasties it carries. My old guy got huge reactions all the time; but never got Lyme, Erlichiosis, etc.

            Some of the ones who get no reaction, do.

            Most horses love it if you scratch the lesions for them very vigorously.


            • #7
              My older mare blows up and abscesses from ticks...you can squeeze and chunky yellow stuff comes out (its oddly grainy...not like puss) and she then has a "hole" in her skin...its oddly disgusting.

              Thankfully my younger mare just gets huge knots from the ticks...makes it easy to find them before they get super gross, although she'll get sores like yours if I dont' catch them right away.

              She gets equispot every 2 weeks plus head to toe fly gear (hates flies) and I've only found a few ticks this year, usually we are slammed (I've pulled more off me then I have my horse sadly!).


              • #8
                Tick bites hurt and itch. And if they bite you in a muscle, they ache for days.

                Buy some antihistamine tablets and dissolve them in water and put in the horse's feed. And spray the horse every day to prevent tick bites and bug bites. Spraying every day is the way to keep horses free of ticks and flies and mosquitoes and diseases bourne by them.


                • #9
                  My gelding reacts badly also. This year he once again developed what I call a boob. They get him on his chest near his leg and he swells up with fluid and the area around the bite gets nasty. Pus, scab, loses hair the size of a quarter or more. I pick the scab daily so it can drain, cold hose it, and apply some kind of antibiotic ointment or Veterycin. He also ends up on an antibiotic because the swelling is pretty stubborn.

                  I like the Freedom spot on product. I still check for ticks after a ride, but some of them are so small I would never find them. I also spray with Endure or Deep Woods Off before a ride, depending on where I am going and the time of year.

                  I would also try the garlic since your horses are both sensitive to all kinds of bugs. I've thought about trying that as well.


                  • #10
                    My OTTB reacts the same way to ticks - very gross. I agree that Freedom 45 spot treatment works really well. I also keep him covered head to toe in fly gear, cuz he hates flies, too.


                    • #11
                      Try applying SWAT or Vaseline to the areas that normally aquire the most ticks (ie between the legs, udder/sheath area, under the tail, armpit area, under the chin). You have to reaaply it at least once a week, but it seems to do a pretty good job. The ticks cant breath through it, and so cant latch on. It doesn't keep them off the rest of the body, so using equispot or a spray helps. But the SWAT sure has helped keep my ponies more comfortable this year.
                      If you are wanting to keep the ticks down on your property, having free range guineas or chickens can help keep the numbers down. Though if you go with guineas, they are notoriously stupid, so you might have to keep an eye on them to make sure they dont wander off and get lost, or wander in the road. I like chickens because I get fresh eggs from them.
                      You can also apply SWAT to those nasty tick bites to keep flys from getting on it, and it has a slight antibiotic effect. I wouldnt use it on a crater of a sore ( prob needs a vet to look at) but the smaller ones seem to be helped by it.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you for the reply!! Right now I do have a fly mask and fly sheet on (except for this year it is rubbing his shoulder? grr). I did try the EquiSpot but maybe I will try the Freedom 45. For the garlic did you just give them a tablespoon of the powder on there grain?
                        Here is a fully body shot of him last summer, incase anyone wants to seem him.


                        • #13
                          Regarding the suggestion that horses who react to tick bites with lots of inflammation are less likely to contract tick-borne diseases, I have one who swells like crazy around tick bites and yet developed a raging case of lyme disease anyway. I wouldn't necessarily take the inflammation as a sign of resistance to systemic infection.

                          I've tried two brands of spot-on, Deep Woods Off, and most recently the fipronil (Frontline) spray, and haven't been able to keep the ticks off. Hard to say if I would be picking even more ticks off without these, though, so I continue fighting the good fight!

                          Good luck finding a solution!


                          • #14
                            I have lived in many places with horses, but here in the large and lush NC pastures, ticks are *everywhere*! I use a permethrin/cypermethrin fly spray on the jowls, legs, loin, stomach, and rubbed into all creases where legs meet body. I "detick" every time I'm at the barn (5-7 days/week), and I notice that when I spray/rub, embedded ticks are mostly dead. The live ticks seem to be around the nostrils, the back and bridle path (presumably picked up when grazing and rolling and they hung onto places with less fly spray coverage). My vet swears by Frontline spray, and has had mixed success with the spot application treatments. Here in my particular pastures, I mainly see Lone Star ticks and Deer ticks, with rare dog ticks. I know because I identify them when I pull them off and preserve them in alcohol (I want to be sure they're dead). They seem to be sensitive to the fly spray I use. Now, the horse flies...they don't seem to care too much.
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