• Equine Lice – How to spot them


    There are different horse lice treatments, but first we must know what type of lice the horse has

    There are 2 different types; those that suck and those that bite. The ones that suck are normally found in longer hair like the mane and tail, and above the hooves. The biting ones are found in shorter hair, on the neck and at the base of the tail.

    You will need to find out what type of lice your horse has and the symptoms that go with them. The vet will normally tell you the best course of action to be taken.

    The most common symptom of lice is that the horse’s coat will look dull and unkempt. There may be raw skin patches which can appear flaky around the neck and shoulders, or at the base of the tail. Matted hair in the mane and tail is a common sign of lice. Also decreased muscle tone and anaemia.

    Insurers need to know the total number of horses on the yard/land at any one time. So, this should include your Riding School horses and liveries used for tuition, livery horses, horses owned by the insured, even if they are retired.

    The behavioural symptoms may be easier to spot. Your horse will keep scratching or biting at the skin and rubbing against walls and fences to try to stop the itching.

    If you think that your horse may have lice, check them thoroughly – the lice are about 2-4mm long and have flat bodies. They may be light brown, yellow or grey depending on the type of horse lice they are.

    Check all the places above, part the hair and search for eggs or lice themselves. The lice will be attached to the hair near the skin

    Be more aware of horse lice in the winter and keep an eye for the symptoms as these can be very annoying for your poor horse. Once you have spotted them, give your vet a ring and he will tell you what the best type of treatment is.