Itchy ticks and tick lesions cause pastured horses to ferociously rub trees, fences and shelter walls, abrading throats, necks and hindquarters and destroying their manes and tails. Severe infestations produce anemia, loss of appetite and depression. Ticks can infect any horse—or horse owner—with Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick-bite paralysis. Standard insect solutions rarely phase these rugged pests.
- Treat horses with tick-repellent products made specifically for horses found at your local pet store, tack and supply retailer, or farm and feed store.
- If you prefer to hand-pick ticks, wear gloves. To remove a tick, grasp it as close to its host’s skin as possible using fingers or forceps. Don’t squeeze. Apply slow, steady, upward pressure until the tick comes away intact. Drop detached ticks into a jar of soapy water, then dispose of tick-laden liquid by burying it or flushing it down the toilet.
- Keep a flock of Guinea fowl or free-range chickens. Feathered barnyard marauders consider ticks the pinnacle of haute cuisine–and you can dine on their eggs!
The author is a freelance writer based in Arkansas.