Horses Health Cards N°12. Horses and Ticks: What Risks?

Ticks are mites that attach to the skin of mammals (including man) preferentially on areas of fine skin, thanks to their rostrum (jaw). They feed on a blood meal that can last up to 3 weeks. On this occasion, they may transmit a number of diseases, including piroplasmosis, a serious disease that can affect your horse. Three species of ticks are frequently encountered and dangerous: Dermacentor, Rhipicephalus and Ixodides. Their activity is maximal in spring and autumn, when the temperature is between 0 ° C and 20 ° C. They are found mainly in forests and woods, private and public gardens, parks, fields, and sometimes even in urban housing.

The disease transmitted by ticks.

Piroplasmosis or babesiosis is a frequent and severe parasitic disease. The microscopic parasite lodges in the salivary glands of the tick and is injected into your horse's body thanks to its blood meal. It colonizes the red blood cells, then destroys them. The result is anorexia (lack of appetite), fever, apathy, anemia (lack of red blood cells) and urine that turns brown sometimes very dark. A jaundice (jaundice) appears, that is to say that the mucous membranes are colored in pale yellow. Sometimes the disease progresses to kidney failure, and limb edema may occur. Without treatment, it is a disease most often fatal in a few days.

Diagnosis involves the implementation of complementary examinations performed by the veterinarian (blood sampling).

Prevention of piroplasmosis.

In order to effectively combat tick-borne diseases, the correct tactic is to use several associated methods: the use of an acaricide (antiparasitic) for equine use in the prevention of tick fixation, and A careful examination of your horse's coat during the daily grooming process in order to be able to quickly remove any fixed parasite are two essential steps. (Very effective hooks are on sale in the shop of Lastly, it will be necessary to strive to destroy brush, bushes and hedges that border the meadows.

In any case, never forget that your veterinarian is your horse's best friend after you, and that his training makes him his only doctor: listen and follow his advice!