How To Treat Horse Lice? (Perfect answer)

Chewing lice are active and can be seen moving through the hair. Horses can be treated with sprays of pyrethrins, synthetic pyrethrins, or the organophosphate coumaphos to kill lice. A wipe-on formula is also available and is especially useful for treating horses that react to sprayer noises.

Does ivermectin kill lice on horses?

Ivermectin has been the most important equine anthelmintic (anti-worm) drug since its development in the early 1980’s. Both moxidectin and ivermectin also kill external parasites, such as lice, mites, ticks and the skin-dwelling larvae of parasites such as Onchocerca and Habronema.

How did my horse get lice?

1 Both types of lice are seen around the world. The lice are transferred from horse to horse by direct contact or through shared brushes, blankets, and equipment.

How do you treat lice on horses UK?

Horse Lice Treatment

  1. De-worm your horse with a paste invermectin wormer.
  2. Wash your horse with water and pyrethrin shampoo and conditioner suitable for horses.
  3. This shampoo will kill the lice in the hair and on the skin of the horse.

How often do you treat horses for lice?

It is recommended that three treatments are given at 10-day intervals to allow fresh eggs to hatch.

How long does it take for ivermectin to work in horses?

In the United States, ivermectin is typically given to a horse in a single dose oral paste which begins working within the first 48 hours. For ivermectin to be effective, a parasite must be exposed to the drug.

How much ivermectin can I give my horse?

Ivermectin Liquid for Horses Dosage And Administration The recommended dose is 200 µg of ivermectin per kilogram of body weight. Each mL contains sufficient ivermectin to treat 50 kg of body weight; 10 mL will treat a 500 kg horse.

How do you get rid of horse lice naturally?

Study shows that tea tree and lavender oil may be effective in treating lice. British researchers report that two common essential oils—tea tree and lavender—show promise in treating lice that are increasingly resistant to commercial pesticides.

How do you know if a horse has lice?

The first signs that your horse may be infested with lice are biting at and rubbing infested areas and increased restlessness. Hair loss and even skin loss may occur. If the lice are abundant, the hair might also be matted. Sucking lice cause small wounds that can become infected.

How long can lice live on a horse?

Lice can also be passed from horse to horse via shared tack or other grooming tools or equipment. In the right weather conditions, adult lice may be able to survive for two to three days on hard surfaces, and the nits can remain viable for about three weeks.

Can horses get lice from hay?

The most common lice in horses is Werneckiella equi. They can for a little while though, so they can be transferred from one horse to another via humans or other animals. They can also survive in the environment for a little while, so they can spread via materials, clothes, rugs, brushes, hay, straw, horse boxes, etc.

What is the best lice powder for horses?

For your horses we would recommend using a product called Deosect or Switch / Z-Itch. Deosect is a product containing cypermethrin, Switch and Z-Itch contain permethrin all of which kill larvae and adult lice.

What does apple cider vinegar do for horses?

Apple Cider Vinegar works to acidify the horse’s stomach for better digestion, cleansing the digestic tract. It can also aid in the absorption of minerals and helps balance the acid/alkaline ratio which is essential for good health.

How long do horse lice live on rugs?

How are they spread? Lice are mainly spread by direct contact from one horse to another, but can be spread indirectly by shared rugs and grooming equipment. A louse can survive for 2-4 weeks in an environment with favourable conditions, but more frequently die off within a week.

Can you use Frontline on horses?

Frontline Spray: This is a commonly used product for dogs, and many people have used frontline spray on horses. Common directions for using this product on horses is to spray the legs, belly, tailhead and forelock every 1-3 weeks.

Can lice live in straw?

These tiny little insects are also known as booklice and bark-lice and are known to feed on old books and other natural materials. It’s rare to have them infest a straw bale house, but it can happen.

Lice in horses: how best to deal with this itchy pest

  • Veterinary adviser to the Royal Family since 1991, Karen Coumbe, MRCVS, has edited and given final approval to this article. What is lice in horses? What are the signs and symptoms? What are the risk factors? What is the transmission? What is the treatment? A lice infestation is one of the most prevalent causes of itching in horses, which is technically referred to as pruritus in the medical community. Lice are most prevalent in chilly, moist areas in the late winter and early spring, when temperatures are below freezing. For the most part, if your horse or pony is itching, you should first rule out lice and other parasites such as asmites before considering other possible causes of itchiness such as sweet itch. The majority of horse owners are more concerned with internal parasites, specifically worms
  • Nevertheless, external parasites, such as lice and mites, may be a huge annoyance in addition to having a negative influence on equine health. Horses that are infested with lice must be miserable, and they may suffer from nutritional deficiencies. A severe infestation of lice can result in anaemia as a result of the open skin sores that are generated as a result of the infestation, as well as the fact that some species of lice are blood suckers.

Types of equine lice

Lice are classified into two types: bloodsucking (Haematopinus asini) and biting (Haematopinus asini) (Damalinia equi). Both species are six-legged, small, and wingless, with their coats of a light brown color. Both the sucking and non-sucking varieties are noticeable during normal inspection since they are both greater in size. They have pointy heads and their mouth parts are capable of penetrating the skin. These parasites are most usually seen on the longer hairs of the mare, tail, and fetlocks, where their eggs (nits) may be seen clearly adhering to the hair.

They are often located around the back and flanks of the horse, but if left untreated, they can spread throughout the entire body.

When the adults lay eggs on their hair, the eggs hatch and grow into adults.

Signs of lice in horses

The moth-eaten appearance of infected animals is characteristic of them, particularly beneath the mane, along their backs, and around their tails, since they rub and bite themselves in reaction to the aggravation. This might result in bald patches and painful places that may secrete serum, while the horse’s coat becomes dull and scurfy as a result of the condition. Horses that have been severely impacted frequently lose condition and become restless. The possibility of a secondary infection developing in regions of damaged skin should not be underestimated.

The presence of live lice is frequently detected when a rug is removed and they flee for refuge by burrowing into the horse’s hair coat, where they are just large enough to be seen with the naked eye in bright light if you have decent vision.

Despite the fact that it is not a nice analogy, horse lice are quite similar to human lice, and an old-fashioned nit comb may be used to detect lice in horses just as it does in humans.

Though lice are discovered on one horse, it is reasonable to infer that other horses in touch with that horse are sick, even if no lice are visible and the skin seems normal.

Which horses are at most risk?

Having lice is not simply an issue that affects horses in poor health or who have been overcrowding or have been neglected in the past. Although horses who have been mistreated may be more susceptible to lice, lice may infect any horse anywhere in the globe. It is possible that low-level lice infestations do not generate many indicators of skin irritation, and as a result, they go unreported, at least in the early stages of their development. A severe infestation can result in acute itching, hair loss, regions of raw skin, and infections in the affected areas.

Stressed or otherwise ill horses may be more susceptible to louse infestations, but even seemingly healthy horses can have lice – some may be more irritated or even allergic to the lice bites or discomfort.

As a result of midge bites, certain ponies may experience sweet itch, which is comparable to what happens to some horses.

As a result of the high number of lice that can proliferate undetected in their long winter coats, it is not uncommon for groups of young horses kept together over the winter months to get contaminated with lice. Owners should inspect their horses thoroughly when they return in the spring.

How do lice spread?

Generally, lice are spread between horses by direct touch with one another. They will only survive for a few days in rugs, grooming brushes, and tack, as well as on paddock fences and trees that horses rub against, so they can also be spread in this manner. However, the majority of transmission occurs through direct animal contact or through items such as shared grooming equipment. Lice are host specific, which means that horse lice will only attach to horses and will not be seen on other animals, but donkey lice are exclusive to donkeys alone.

Treatment of lice in horses

Equine lice are treated using anti-parasitic powders and liquids, as well as nutritional and management changes that are appropriate for the horse’s situation. Additionally, grooming and cutting off the infected coat will aid in the recovery process. It may be controversial, but treating all in-contact horses at the same time is necessary to ensure that all lice are eradicated from the horse’s body. Louse eggs are difficult to remove and are resistant to most pesticides, which is why people have traditionally used nit combs to remove them.

  1. Because neither ironing nor nit-combing can completely cure the problem of lice in horses, it is necessary to continue medical treatment at three-week intervals in order to completely destroy the lice that hatch.
  2. To effectively cure lice, it is necessary to use a remedy that is both effective and effective in eliminating them.
  3. There has been scientific studies as well as anecdotal evidence to suggest that not every product works as well as one may expect it to work.
  4. Not only have some studies found that various over-the-counter louse powders are not always successful, but there has also been evidence that donkey lice are developing resistance to several insecticide treatments, including cypermethrin and permethrin used topically.
  5. Always ensure that lice treatment is thoroughly disseminated throughout the coat when treating donkeys.
  6. Another research, which was particularly interesting, suggested that essential and non-essential oils might be used in the treatment of biting lice.
  7. Tea-tree, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, clove bud, and camphor were among the six essential oils evaluated.
  8. At concentrations less than two percent, fifty percent of the population died.
  9. Additionally, two essential oil constituents were found to have identical degrees of toxicity.

In addition, the wormers, such as ivermectin or moxidectin, that are used to treat parasitic worms may also be effective in killing lice, particularly blood sucking lice that will take up the poisonous wormer, whereas chewing lice that eat skin scale are less likely to be exposed to a louse lethal dose of the poisonous wormer.

As is typical of the law of unintended consequences, it appears that the reduction in the administration of routine wormer medicine may result in an increase in lice infestations.

Therefore, keep an eye out for the louse, which may be found on any itchy horse, pony, or donkey. It is advised that three treatments be administered at 10-day intervals to allow for the hatching of new eggs. Gloves and garments that provide protection should be worn.

Treatment summary

Treatment options include the following:

  • Application of a permethrin spray to the entire body in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, followed by a second application after 14 days
  • Application of Deosect spray, diluted to the concentration indicated by the manufacturer, followed by a follow-up application after 14 days
  • Ask your veterinarian for an advice on an insecticidal shampoo to use on your pet. Some essential oils are discussed in detail in this article.

Despite the fact that the following products are not approved for the treatment of lice in horses, they have been demonstrated to be effective and may be used with the approval of your veterinarian.

  • 25 percent fibronil spray (Frontline)
  • Selenium sulphide shampoo
  • Ivermectin or moxidectin wormer paste administered orally for instances involving sucking lice
  • Ivermectin or moxidectin wormer paste given orally for situations involving head lice

Tack, carpets, and brushes should all be cleaned as well, either with a topical solution or by steam cleaning, depending on the situation. Continuation of Reading Control of lice infestation in horses using a topical application of deltamethrin at a concentration of 10 mg/mL – June 2017. The use of essential oils in the control of the donkey louse, Bovicola ocellatus, was first published in March 2015. You might be interested in the following items as well. On the dock and at the top of the tail area, a horse is displaying characteristic signs of sweet itch.

  • Photograph courtesy of Professor Derek Knottenbelt Sarcoids are the most frequent skin tumor in horses and ponies, and they are quite damaging locally, therefore learn about the best treatment options.
  • Image courtesy of Alamy Stock Photo MA VetMB is an abbreviation for Master of Veterinary Medicine.
  • She works as an FEI veterinarian and has represented the organization in three Olympic Games and two World Equestrian Games in the past.
  • Since 1991, she has been as the official veterinary advisor for HorseHound.
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Lice alert!

Rather of asking IF your horse will have lice, it’s more important to ask WHEN your horse will acquire lice. The content on the page appeared to be pointing a finger at me in an accusatory manner. This couldn’t possibly be correct. I couldn’t believe this was happening to my horse, could I? I’ve been a horse owner for over two decades. I won’t claim to be a very good owner, but I do pay close attention to the needs of my animals. My horses have been living with me on our tiny farm for the past six years, and I couldn’t be happier.

  1. I keep track of deworming and vaccination schedules, and my horses receive basic care from a veterinarian and a farrier on a regular basis.
  2. I’m very sure I give them way too many snacks.
  3. However, I was proven wrong.
  4. The proof was right in front of me on the computer screen, and it read as follows: Lice were probably likely the culprit of my Miniature Horse’s frequent scratching and itching.
  5. However, when I conducted my study, I uncovered a slew of myths and misunderstandings.

Furthermore, I was thrilled to discover strategies to assist in the prevention of future epidemics. I believe I can, and I hope you can as well.

Catching the bugs

Infestation with lice, also known as pediculosis, is widespread in horses all over the world, although it is particularly prevalent in temperate areas. Lice are little, wingless insects that are classified as ectoparasites, which are parasites that reside on the outside of their host. Horses are affected by two main forms of parasites, which are characterized by their source of nourishment. Sucking lice (Haematopinus asini) feed on blood by inserting their mouthparts into the roots of a horse’s hairs, which allows them to feed on the blood of the horse.

  1. Approximately an eighth of an inch (1 to 2 mm) in length, with a huge, broad abdomen behind a thin, pointed thorax and head, and a large, broad abdomen.
  2. Separate the horse’s hairs all the way down to the skin in order to locate them.
  3. Chewing lice, also known as Bovicola (Werneckiella) equi (previously Damalinia equi), on the other hand, tend to crawl about on the horse’s skin.
  4. Chewing lice are smaller than sucking lice, measuring less than a tenth of an inch (less than 2 mm) in length.
  5. Their hue ranges from cream to yellow, with black crossbands running across them.
  6. They attach their eggs, which are known as nits, to the horse’s hair shafts at the base of the hair shafts.
  7. Sucking lice nits hatch around 11 to 20 days, but chewing lice nits hatch in five to ten days on average, according to the CDC.

An adult louse develops three molts over the period of three to four weeks, beginning as a nymph and ending as a nymph.

The whole length of the life cycle might range between 20 and 40 days.

They can, however, be passed readily to other horses in the herd if horses rub against each other directly or if one brushes against a fence post where another horse has recently left some nit-laden hairs behind.

Depending on the weather conditions, adult lice may live on hard surfaces for two to three days and the nits can survive for around three weeks if the conditions are favorable.

Fortunately, you will not get infected with lice if your horse does.


White, DVM, of the University of California–Davis explains that horse lice are “extremely particular to equids,” and that they do not impact humans.

Lichens are more likely to infest sick horses and horses whose immune systems have been impaired by age, stress, or other conditions.

“Most horses must be in a deficient state of health,” she adds.

For example, a 2010 report from North Carolina State University describes the development of pediculosis in two research ponies in the laboratory.

Despite the fact that lice infestations can develop at any time of the year, they are more frequent in the winter and spring, when horse coats are thicker and longer, and when blankets can conceal the initial symptoms of problem.

During the winter months, horses are more likely to be kept indoors, according to the author: “Lice thrive in crowded, indoor environments, which is when horses are most likely to be confined in close quarters,” he explains.

“It is less prevalent in really warm, dry climates where winters are not harsh enough,” says the author.

Managing lice in horses

A horse with lice will scratch and bite at his skin incessantly, and this will be the first clue that he has a problem with the lice. It is likely that the rubbing will result in hair loss (alopecia), which will emerge initially on the places where the lice are present: on the neck and head, around and beneath the base of both the mane and tail, and along the flanks and sides of the animal. If the scratching continues for an extended period of time or is vigorous enough, the skin may become irritated and bleed.

  1. “They will stomp on them till they bleed.” The horse’s hair may become matted, ruffled, untidy, or “moth-eaten,” depending on the situation.
  2. A severe enough infestation of sucking lice may deprive the horse of enough blood to produce anemia, which would manifest itself as lethargy, depression, and pale mucous membranes on the horse’s face and body.
  3. Lice, flies, and other insects $19.99 Tick Control Dust-On; $19.99 Although a variety of over-the-counter remedies for equine lice are available, it is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian if you believe your horse is infected with lice.
  4. In addition, your veterinarian can recommend the medication that is most appropriate for your horse and the specific type of lice present, as well as a strategy for preventing the parasites from spreading.
  5. Lice-killing substances (pediculicides) are available in a number of formulations, including sprays, wipe-ons, pour-ons, shampoos, and powders, among others.
  6. These pediculicides act by directly killing louse nymphs and adults; however, they do not damage the eggs or the larvae that hatch from them.
  7. As soon as my veterinarian determined that my horse had lice, she recommended a topical permethrin powder to treat the infestation.

Although permethrin is not dangerous to cats, if you have barn cats you may want to consider using a solution that contains a different active component or a wash that rinses away the insecticide completely.

Because sucking lice swallow the pediculicide from the horse’s blood, this kind of treatment is more successful against them than other methods.

Make careful to read and follow the instructions on the label of any product you use, including any safety precautions that may be listed.

Lice treatment products may be found at most feed stores as well as your local veterinarian office.

Veterinary expert Annette Petersen of Michigan State University advises that once an epidemic is identified, all horses should be treated regardless of whether they are showing clinical indications or not.

Even though it was late in the spring and all of my horses were still in the process of losing their winter coats, I body clipped them all in order to make it easier for the lice treatments to get to the lice faster.

It is, of course, necessary to clean the clippers after each usage on a different horse in order to avoid contamination.

Using permethrin powder may have been excessive, but I chose to wear protective eyewear as well as a temporary jumpsuit over my clothing while handling the substance.

When there is a lice epidemic, White recommends that combs and other grooming items that are shared among horses be cleansed with an authorized solution and devoted to only one horse.

“Because lice can not survive for lengthy periods of time away from the horse,” explains White, “there is no need for drastic or severe cleaning of the surroundings, but any of the topical medicines, such as permethrin sprays, might be used if specified on the label.” Nonetheless, my veterinarian recommended that I strip all of my stalls and clear out any material, including as hair and cobwebs, that had become adhered to the walls of the building.

In the end, I went the extra mile and, following her advice, I made a disinfecting bleach solution and sprayed it over the walls and floors of all of my stalls, as well as the area where I groomed.

Because I wanted to get things done as quickly as possible, I bought a cheap hand-pump weed-sprayer to apply the bleach solution, but a regular bucket and brush would work just as well.

My previous practice was to launder their clothing only once a season, but I intend to increase the frequency of my laundering going forward.

In fact, some contemporary washing machines are equipped with an extra-hot “sanitizing” cycle that kills lice nits as well as disease-causing bacteria throughout the washing cycle.

Preventive measures

The most effective methods of avoiding lice from establishing themselves on your horse focus around keeping him clean and healthy–as well as regularly checking his coat and overall health. You’ve most likely already taken the required steps to do this. However, maintaining continual monitoring is essential for finding and treating lice as soon as possible, as well as keeping the parasites from spreading throughout your herd and flock. Here is a rundown of the procedures to be followed: Grooming should be done on a regular basis and thoroughly.

  1. In addition to grooming, “bathing is quite effective in physically removing lice,” according to Holohan.
  2. Grooming tools should be kept separate for each horse.
  3. However, this isn’t always possible.
  4. Tack and other equipment should be cleaned on a regular basis.
  5. Blankets are typically washed after each season of usage, but if your horse is particularly untidy, you may want to consider washing it as often as necessary over the winter months.
  6. A healthy diet, frequent fecal examinations, and parasite management are among the key preventative methods for lice, according to Bridges-Westerman, who recommends “a balanced diet, regular fecal exams, and parasite control” as primary preventive measures.
  7. Maintain constant observation over the coats of horses in need of care for early indicators of problems.

Any new horse that is delivered to your farm may be harboring a variety of parasites or dangerous illnesses that you should be aware of.

It’s also a good idea to separate horses who travel regularly to shows or events from horses who like to remain at home.

Avoid coming into close contact with horses you are unfamiliar with.

This will prevent kicks, bites, and other unwanted behaviors, as well as lice and infectious diseases from spreading.

“Unless the horse who had been stalled there previously was infested with lice,” adds Holohan, the risk is rather minimal.

Winter is a time when you need be extra watchful.

Although you may not be riding your horse on a regular basis during the winter months, it is still a good idea to bring him into a well-lit location at least once every few days for brushing and a thorough examination of his coat’s health and condition.

Since finding that my horse had lice, I’ve made a number of adjustments.

Since dealing with lice at my stable, I haven’t blanketed as frequently as I used to, and when I do blanket, I keep my horses’ coats cropped shorter than they were previously accustomed to.

My horses’ manes and tails are now parted down to the skin almost every day, simply to check for anything suspect, and I use metal currycombs instead of the “jelly” variety so that I can really dig into their coats when I groom them.

So yet, there have been no new indications of concern.

When you are grooming your horse and you see a little speck of “something” that makes you wonder, “Well, what is that?,” don’t be surprised.


It’s possible that this is your first indication of horse lice.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

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Learn How to Identify and Treat Lice on Horses

Lice are ectoparasites that reside on the skin and in the fur of animals that are often overcrowded and/or stressed. They are also commonly seen in animals that are kept in filthy environments. There are two varieties of lice, and the difference between them is in the way they eat. One form of parasite feeds by biting and chewing on hair and dead skin, while the other feeds by sucking the blood of the animal that it is parasitizing.

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What Are Lice?

The parasitic lice that reside in the hair coat of horses and other animals are microscopic parasitic insects. Lice are species-specific, which means that bird lice, for example, will not survive on humans or dogs, and horse lice will not commonly infect humans. It is unlikely that you will get lice from your horse or that they will spread to your cat. It is possible, although not always the case, that lice infestations are a result of inadequate care and/or nutrition for the animal. They can be frequent in stables, such as horse racing stables, where tight quarters and shared equipment allow the transmission of lice simple and effective.

  • At their full size, they are just 2 to 4 millimeters in length when completely matured.
  • They may dwell in any part of the horse’s body, including the mane, tail, and coat, and reproduce quickly.
  • asini), the horse sucking type of lice, andDamalinia equi (D.
  • Lice of both varieties may be found in many parts of the world.
  • G.
  • Ferris and the Pacific Coast Entomological Society published this work in 1951.

Signs of Lice on Horses

  • Itching, irritated skin, visible raw areas on the skin, a rough hair coat, and lethargy are all symptoms of this condition.

Even though the lice may be all over the horse, it will be extremely itchy, especially at the base of its tail, mane, and head, and the horse may scratch itself to death. It’s possible that a horse will rub raw patches into its skin as it tries to ease the itching by rubbing itself against fences, trees, or stall walls. An uncomfortable horse may seem listless or colicky, which indicates that it is suffering from a gastrointestinal problem. One or two horses within a herd may be more infected than the rest of the herd on occasion.

A horse that has been severely afflicted with lice will become severely debilitated.

In winter and early spring, lice are most visible on the horse, which has a long hair coat that provides a cozy home for them to reside in. In addition, lice prefer the darkness and avoid strong sunlight as much as possible.


  • Possessing physical touch with another lice-infested animal
  • Using equipment or utensils that have been affected by a lice infestation

In certain cases, the parasites may feed on the horse’s blood, while in others they will feed off of dead skin cells. The lice lay eggs, which are referred to as nits, in the horse’s hair coat and mane, which are then eaten by the horse. These nits will hatch into nymphs, which will mature into egg-laying adults as they get older. Lice nymphs and adults are both responsible for the itching associated with lice. Horses who are underweight or in poor health are more prone to lice infestations than those that are in good condition.


A topical de-lousing powder or an oral louse medicine supplied by a veterinarian are the initial steps in treating the horse itself. Permethrin-based powders, shampoos, and rinses are among the most often used treatments. Applying therapy to skin that has been inflamed should be done with caution, since this might lead to more complications. Avoid inhaling any prescription powder when applying it, and wash your hands thoroughly after you finish applying it. When applying the powder, it is critical that the powder penetrates all the way down to the horse’s skin.

All equipment that has the potential to harbor lice or nits must be cleaned as well.

When it comes to treating lice infestations, your veterinarian is your greatest source of information.


A new horse should be kept apart from the rest of the herd for a period of time to determine whether it has any issues that might be passed on to the rest of the herd later on. A smart idea in a crowded barn is for each horse to have his or her own brushes and equipment since sharing grooming tools and blankets can transmit a variety of skin issues, including lice, ringsworm, and mange, among other things. If you have any reason to believe your pet is unwell, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Controlling Lice in Horses

Date Range: July 13, 2017 through July 15, 2020 The infection of a horse with lice, known as pediculosis, does not need to be a source of concern or fear. Treatment of infected horses, as well as prevention of new infestations, may be time-consuming and difficult. Here are five quick facts about lice, as well as information on how to deal with an infestation. 1. Horses are infested by two forms of lice: biting lice (Haematopinus asini) and sucking lice (Haematopinus asini) (Damalinia equi). In most cases, each species prefers a distinct portion of the horse, with biting lice more usually found on the forehead, neck, and lateral thorax, and sucking lice preferring the mane, dock of the tail, fetlocks, and inner gaskins, among other places on the horse.

2. Lice are easily shared between horses who are in close proximity. Despite the fact that horses have some inherent protection against lice, just as they have some natural defense against internal parasites, there are several risk factors to consider, including the following:

  • Dates: July 13, 2017 – July 15, 2020. Horse lice infestation, also known as pediculosis, does not need to be a source of concern. Treatment of infected horses and prevention of new infestations, on the other hand, can be time-consuming and difficult. In five minutes or less, you can learn everything you need to know about lice and how to deal with an infestation. 1. Horses are infested by two forms of lice: biting lice (Haematopinus asini) and sucking lice (Haematopinus acutus). 2. (Damalinia equi). In most cases, each species prefers a distinct portion of the horse, with biting lice more usually found on the forehead, neck, and lateral thorax, and sucking lice preferring the mane, dock of the tail, fetlocks, and inner gaskins, among other places on the body. Horses in close quarters are more susceptible to lice transmission. There are several risk factors for lice infection in horses, just as there are some risk factors for internal parasite infection in horses. These risk factors include:

Unlike ticks, lice are not known to transmit any illnesses between horses and humans. 3. Furthermore, because most varieties of lice are species-specific, such as horse lice, they are unlikely to infest human beings. The chicken-chewing louse is an exception to this “law,” as it feeds on poultry. When horses and poultry are kept in close proximity to one another, horses might become infected with the poultry virus. 4. Lice infestations can be irritating, despite the fact that no specific diseases are passed between louse and horse.

  • Furthermore, especially high infestations of sucking lice can result in anemia, which is a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the bloodstream.
  • “A single application of the 10 mg/mL deltamethrin formulation in the treatment and prevention of lice infestation in these horses was successful and safe,” according to a recent report by one research group*.
  • As an alternative to a nutritional counseling, try providing your horses with Bio-Bloom PS supplements (in Australia, look forBio-Bloom).
  • * E.
  • Vischi, C.
  • Lice infestation in horses was controlled by a topical treatment of deltamethrin at a concentration of 10 mg/mL.

Lice Infestation in Horses

Generally speaking, lice may be divided into two groups based on their feeding habits: lice who bite and lice who suckle. Lice are little, flat-bodied insects with a flat body. They can grow to be just 2 – 4 millimeters in length when fully developed, making them difficult to identify in the early stages of an infestation. They obtain their nutrition from the waste excreted by the skin as well as the body fluids that may be taken from it. It is believed that they breed in the thick coats that horses develop during the harsher winter months and that they live in numerous parts of the horse’s body, including the coat, the mane, and the tail.

  1. Both species have a widespread range around the world.
  2. It is more common for D equi to oviposit on the finer hairs of the body, and it may be found on both sides of the neck as well as on both flanks and the base of the tail.
  3. They have claws on the ends of their legs that are designed for adhering to hair or feathers.
  4. The mallophagan’s head is significantly larger than its prothorax.
  5. They keep their mouthpart stylets retracted within the head when they are not in use.

The three nymphal stages, which increase in size as they go, are smaller than adults, but generally resemble them in terms of behavior and physical appearance. One generation takes around 3-4 weeks to complete, however this varies depending on the species.

Symptoms and Types

Generally speaking, lice may be divided into two groups based on their feeding strategy: lice who bite and lice who suckle. Cicles are flat-bodied insects with a tiny body and a flattened body shape. Upon reaching full maturity, they might be barely two to four microns in length, making them difficult to identify during the early stages of an infestation. In addition to the garbage excreted by the skin, they also consume the biological fluids that may be taken from it. In the thick coats that horses develop during the harsher winter months, they breed, and they live in a variety of locations on their bodies, from the coat to the mane and tail.

  • Geographical spread of both species is extensive throughout the planet.
  • It is more common for D equi to oviposit on the finer hairs of the body, and it may be found on both sides of the neck as well as on both flanks and the base of its tail.
  • Adapted for adhering to hairs or feathers, the claws on the legs help the animal move.
  • When compared to the prothorax, the mallophagan’s head is broader.
  • Its mouthpart stylets are hidden within the head when not in use to conserve space.
  • They are adhered to the hairs of the hosts’ skin surface.
  • One generation takes around 3-4 weeks to complete, however the length of time varies depending on the organism.
  • Horse’s coat begins to lose its sheen
  • Hair loss on the neck and shoulders
  • Hair loss on the back of the neck Body hairs become matted
  • The hair on the back of the neck becomes matted. Skin itchiness
  • Itching of the eyes
  • Rubbing up against poles, walls, and other obstacles
  • Gnawing at one’s own skin
  • In more extreme circumstances, the patient’s condition will deteriorate. Anemia, which comes as a result of continuing blood loss, occurs in the most severe cases. Lice may be visible on the skin’s surface
  • Nonetheless, they are not contagious.


Horses who are not in good health are more susceptible to lice infestations that are severe. Areas where huge numbers of horses are housed together serve as a more prominent breeding environment for lice, increasing the possibility that any horse, even the healthiest, may get infected with lice. In most cases, the cycle is short since nits are put on the hairs and hatch within ten days, which is often a short enough length of time for the problem to go entirely undiscovered.


When it comes to diagnosing lice, a veterinarian is not required; nevertheless, when it comes to identifying lice and treating them, it is a good idea to consult with one. When it comes to dealing with lice, it is sometimes beneficial to have some background knowledge, as individuals who do not understand what they are dealing with may not have a chance against them when it comes to getting rid of them. The presence of lice is used to make the diagnosis. If the dog is being inspected inside, the hair should be divided and the skin and proximal section of the coat examined under a bright light.

In the case of smaller animals, the ova are easily visible.

It is possible to observe biting lice moving through the hair while they are in active. Sucking lice move more slowly than other types of lice and are frequently discovered with their mouthparts lodged in the skin.


When it comes to treating lice in horses, clipping the coat is the most effective initial step. Due to the fact that lice prefer long coats, the longer your horse’s coat will be less hospitable to them, which is an excellent technique to prevent lice from moving to and breeding on your horse. The greater the thickness of the coat, the greater the number of lice present; this is why the winter months are the most favorable period for them to reproduce in high numbers. Because the lice’s life cycle is so brief, they should be treated every two weeks; if they are treated less often, they will have more time to reproduce and become a problem once more.

Living and Management

Keeping the horse’s mane and tail cut as much as possible will help to inhibit the spread of lice. It is also critical to ensure that the treatment is provided on a regular basis until the lice have been eliminated.

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How to Treat Horse Lice

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation Horses may become infested with lice in the same way as dogs do. Equine lice infestations can result in skin irritation, hair loss, anemia, scarring and inflammation of the skin, as well as self-mutilation in the case of horses. Once a veterinarian has determined that your horse does indeed have equine lice, the actions to take to treat the problem and alleviate your horse’s pain are straightforward. This article provides instructions on how to cure horse lice.

  1. 1Fill a bucket halfway with water and set it aside. Ideally, the bucket should be placed near the horse’s rear legs, but not too close, as the horse is prone to kick it over. 2 Combine the lice shampoo and the water in a small bowl. Combine a lice-treatment shampoo, such as pyrethrin, that has been advised by a veterinarian with the water in the bucket. Fill a big spray bottle halfway with water and shampoo
  2. Set aside.
  • Check to see if the lice shampoo has been specially developed for use on horses. Treatments for lice in cattle or sheep may cause skin irritation and hair loss in the animals.
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  • s3 Spritz the horse with water. Spray the pyrethrin mixture all over the horse’s body, taking care to avoid the eyes, ears, and nose
  • Repeat as necessary.
  • However, even though lice are most commonly found in horses’ mane and tail hair, fetlock hair, and down their backs, the lice can be found everywhere in the horse’s coat. As a result, it is critical to treat the horse’s entire body, even if the infestation is quite minor.
  1. 4Rinse the horse well. To completely remove the pyrethrin mixture from the horse’s coat, use a sponge or clean rags soaked in clean water to thoroughly wash the animal. If the weather is chilly, warm water should be used. The horse can be cleaned with a garden hose if the weather is warm. Clean towels should be used to thoroughly dry the horse. It’s also important to use a brush or comb to untangle the hair in the horse’s mane, tail, forelocks, and fetlocks in order to remove any lice or nits (lice eggs) that may have been entangled in the hair. Insecticide should be sprayed on the floor. Using non-toxic Sevin dust, lightly coat the floor of the horse’s stable with a thin layer of protection. This will kill off any leftover lice, preventing them from finding a new host in the process of reproduction. Advertisement
  1. 1Clean and disinfect all of the horse’s grooming equipment. Make a thorough wash of all of the horse’s grooming items with the pyrethrin mixture, making sure to completely rinse them afterwards. When the horse is groomed, this will prevent the horse from being infected again. 2Launder all of the blankets. Wash any blankets or rugs that have been used by the horse or that have been placed in any locations where the animal has come into contact with bacteria
  2. And 3Clean the saddle of the horse. 4 Clean the saddle and harness of the afflicted horse using a leather cleaner or other appropriate cleaning substance
  3. Horses should be kept out of arenas or paddocks where the infected horse has been seen or grazed. When a horse is scratching, lice may still be present on trees or rails that the animal brushed up against while scratching.
  • Fortunately, because horse lice can only survive for a few days without a host, the paddock may be re-used within 10 days of the infestation being discovered.
  1. 5Repeat the lice treatment a second time. Because lice treatments do not kill the lice eggs, a follow-up treatment is normally required around two weeks following the initial treatment in order to eliminate any lice that may have hatched during the interim period. Advertisement

Create a new question

  • Question My horse’s hair was scorched along his mane and back when I used lice powder, as instructed. I’m not sure what happened. What should I do at this point? Apply burn cream to the affected area and cover it with sunscreen. Avoid touching the affected region, and consult a veterinarian for more detailed long-term care instructions. Question Pestine powder has been applied on the top of the tail of my tiny pony, which has been rubbing it. Badly. I’ve rewormed him twice, and I noticed him rubbing furiously once more last night. Is it appropriate for me to utilize ‘Lice n Easy’ at this time? Comb him with a soft bristle brush. Lice combs can be used to collect and eliminate lice. You may also wish to consult with your veterinarian about the situation
  • He may be suffering from anything other than lice. Question What is the difference between spraying with solution and putting your horse on fresh shavings? You should replace the shavings because, if there are lice deeper in the shavings, they will ultimately come out and infest your horse again. Question How can I get rid of the nits? Is it okay if I cover her mane with oil or vinegar in order to kill the lice? Run a nit comb over her mane and tail to remove any stray hairs. To treat her mane, you can mix two tablespoons of neem oil with a pail of water and massage it into her hair
  • Question Do we have lice on our bodies? Although lice do survive on their “host,” you are unlikely to get lice from your horse since the lice that infest horses are of a different type than the lice that infest humans. Question How can they induce discomfort and swelling when they go under the skin? Lice can only be found on the skin’s surface, and they do not penetrate it. In addition to itching, the lice can cause discomfort and swelling in the horse’s skin as a result of the horse scratching excessively.

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  • It is recommended that if you have many horses, and one of them has lice, that you get all of the horses tested and treated, if necessary. Lice treatment is most successful when started as soon as possible. Check your horse for lice on a regular basis. Obtain a veterinarian’s confirmation of the diagnosis before initiating treatment if you believe that your horse has lice. Lice are most commonly seen beneath a horse’s forelock, mane, tail, and fetlocks, to name a few places. Lice, on the other hand, can be discovered everywhere on the horse’s body if the infestation is severe
  • However, although horse lice do not infest people or other animals, they can infest other horses. Equine lice thrive in settings where their winter coats are very long and their coats are not properly groomed. Louse infestations are more likely to occur in horses that are in poor condition.

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  • When a horse has a serious lice infestation, he or she will rub herself bare in an attempt to relieve the agony caused by the lice. Open wounds can become infected with a variety of bacteria, which can make the condition much worse. Lice should be treated as early and completely as possible in order to avoid further aggravating the situation. Make sure to use a lice treatment designed particularly for horses to avoid further aggravating the situation. If you use lice shampoo that is intended for cattle or sheep on your horse, you may get serious skin reactions and/or hair loss


Things You’ll Need

  • A bucket with a soft sponge or rags, or a garden hose will suffice. Large spray bottle
  • Pyrethrin shampoo (make sure it is OK to use on horses before using)
  • A pair of tack boots. Sevin dust, which is non-toxic
  • Towels

About This Article

Summary of the ArticleXIf you have horse lice and need to treat them, combine a lice shampoo especially for horses, such as pyrethrin, with water in a spray bottle. Then, spray the pyrethrin all over the horse’s body, taking care to keep it away from the horse’s eyes, ears, and nose. In order to complete the treatment, rinse the horse thoroughly with a damp sponge and then pat it dry with a towel. Using the same combination, you’ll also need to wash the horses’ grooming items, saddle, and blanket.

Continue reading for advice on how to avoid a lice infestation in the future.

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It is possible that the blood sucking louse, Haematopinus asini, will be more detrimental to your horse’s health than either Bovicola equi or Trichodectes pilosus. Because of the blood loss caused by Haematopinus asini, your horse may become anemic and feeble. The chewing parasites Bovicola equi and Trichodectes pilosus, on the other hand, can be exceedingly unpleasant and irritating to the horse’s skin, especially when they bite. If you notice that your horse is scratching at his skin excessively, you should take him to the veterinarian right away.

Generally speaking, there are three different types of lice that may infect horses.

Both Bovicola equi and Trichodectes pilosus, the other two types of lice, nibble on the surface of the horse’s skin.

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Symptoms of Lice in Horses

There may be one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Itchiness, skin inflammation, hair loss, scarring, biting at the skin, rubbing against fences, walls, and posts, depression, weakness, and a dull coat are all symptoms of hives. Hair that has become matted
  • Reduced muscular tone
  • Raw skin
  • Lice eggs adhered to the hair
  • And other symptoms.

Causes of Lice in Horses

Lice may survive on items for a few days while they look for a host. The likelihood of contracting lice increases in horses under stress or in equines with reduced immune systems. Lice can be spread by any of the following methods:

  • Using contaminated grooming or riding equipment with other people
  • Using a blanket that has lice on it is not recommended. Contact with an infected animal on a physical level
  • Keeping the horse in a stall or trailer that has been contaminated with lice

Diagnosis of Lice in Horses

The clinical indications of lice on your horse may be the most reliable approach to determine whether or not your horse has lice. Your horse’s skin, tail, ears, and mane will all be carefully examined by the veterinarian to discover whether or not this is the case. By looking for lice eggs and visualizing lice, the veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not the animal has lice infestations during a physical examination. An additional test, in addition to a visual inspection, may be recommended by the veterinarian to check on the overall health of your equine pet.

It is also important to ensure that your horse does not become anemic as a result of the lice infestation.

Treatment of Lice in Horses

If lice are discovered, the veterinarian will recommend a medicated wash to treat them. Using a medicated shampoo for horses rather than a product intended for cattle or goats is critical. The use of shampoos that are not intended for horses can result in skin irritation and hair loss in some cases. It is advised that the person who will be caring for your horse wear gloves when handling your horse. The use of gloves can aid in the prevention of the spread of lice to other pets and other animals.

  1. After your horse has been shampooed, he should be combed thoroughly to remove any lice eggs.
  2. Blankets must be washed in hot water and then dried after use.
  3. Grooming brushes should be cleaned and disinfected with the medicated shampoo after each usage.
  4. Horses that have been diagnosed with anemia may require vitamins as well as B-12 injections.

Recovery of Lice in Horses

Horses that have been diagnosed with lice should have follow-up checkups to ensure that the lice have not re-infested. The horse will need to be retreated for parasites if lice are discovered after two weeks of treatment. He will need to be re-shampooed with the medicated shampoo and combed to remove any lice eggs that have been left behind. The stalls and equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before use. Horses that have been diagnosed with anemia should have a full blood count performed again to check that their red blood cell count has returned to normal.

It should be mentioned that studies have shown that horses that are de-wormed on a regular basis have less lice problems than horses who are not de-wormed.

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Lice Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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