3 ways to protect your horse from ticks

Ticks can transmit several diseases to your horse. That means you’ll want to do what you can to discourage them from attaching to your horse. Here are three ways to protect your horse from ticks:

Three horses in a tall meadow.
Tick infestations on horses often go undetected because of the thick equine hair coat and the parasite’s small size.
(Photo, courtesy, Kathryn Duncan, DVM, PhD, and Kellee D. Sundstrom, MS

1. Apply tick-control products (acaricides) regularly. Many products contain high concentration, spot-on formulations of pyrethroids (such as cypermethrin, permethrin). Others rely on older compounds like organophosphates (for example, malathion, coumaphos) are available. If you decide to use a tick-control product, read the label carefully. In particular, confirm that the formulation works against ticks and is safe for horses.

You may have heard of situations where ticks were so overwhelming that owners used products labeled for cattle or dogs. This is not recommended, however, because these products were not tested for efficacy or safety in horses. In addition, products formulated for cattle are intended to be administered to animals with minimal human contact and may present safety concerns for people.

2. Modify your horse’s habitat to make it less tick friendly. Remove litter, tall grass and other environmental features that attract ticks. Also limit your horse’s access to areas where ticks are plentiful and

3. Erect fencing or plantings that will deter wildlife, especially deer. Natural or structural barriers that keep reservoir hosts from your property can help protect your horse from ticks.

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