Ticks are a nuisance that can often go undetected but because of the risk of disease transmission (Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Equine piroplasmosis), it is worth frequently examining your horse for their presence and lowering the chances of exposure.
Ticks are a nuisance that often go undetected, but because of the risk of disease transmission, frequently examining your horse for their presence lowers the chances of exposure.
© 2019 by EquiMed New window.
Knowing how to correctly remove a tick also reduces the chance of infection.
With over 40 recognized species of ticks in Canada, researchers are tracking their movements, keeping an eye out for exotic varieties and conducting testing for tick-borne pathogens.
Get hands-on with your grooming. You may not see the tick, but instead notice a little bump. Pay particular attention to the head, chest, belly, in between the legs, tail and under that mane.
Your first aid kit should already be stocked with the supplies you need to remove ticks: tweezer or a tick puller, gloves, container for the tick (e.g., plastic baggie, pill vial) and a gentle antiseptic skin cleaner.
1. Put on your gloves.
2. Clear the hair away from the tick. If you are using tweezers position your tweezers to firmly grasp at the site of tick attachment without grabbing your horse’s skin. In one steady firm movement (and without squishing the tick), pull upwards (i.e., perpendicular to your horse’s body) to remove the tick. You will want to use your tweezers near the ticks head, not the body.
If you are using a tick puller follow the instructions on the package. Most tick pullers have a notch that you can slide under the tick to grab it and easily remove it.
3. Do not dig or pick at your horse’s skin to make sure you got it all out. This can increase the risk of a skin infection.
4. Place the tick in the storage container.
5. Clean the bite area with a gentle antiseptic solution.
6. Remove your gloves, wash your hands and clean your tweezers or tick puller.
7. In Canada, report your tick finding on the Pet Tick Tracker or etick.ca. In the USA report ticks on Show Us Your Ticks
Getting rid of brush piles and trimming the grass around paddocks can make your facility less attractive for ticks. Keep to cleared paths and stay away from tall grass on trail rides. Letting horses graze in overgrown pastures is another risk factor.
Topicals mentioned in 2018 research study:
Chemical protection of horses against tick attachment includes wipe-on, pour-on and spray-on products containing cypermethrin, permethrin, pyrethrins, or piperonyl butoxide, which can provide at least several hours of protection.
Dust, dirt, perspiration, and water shorten protection time, making reapplication a necessity. Permethrin*, and other spot-on products have been subjectively successful in repelling ticks.
As always, talk to your veterinarian about prevention plans and the level of risk in your area. *If using a product containing Permethrin, it is important to be aware this chemical is highly toxic to cats.
Sources: Information for this fact sheet has been sourced from: www.petsandticks.com/ 2018 Research Study: Borrelia burgdorferi Infection, A Consensus Statement
Press release by Equine Guelph - University of Guelph