External parasites such as lice, leg mites and pin worm are commonly seen coming out of spring and into summer. Here are some of the clinical signs seen with each:

  • Lice:
    • hair loss over face and body
    • biting at body
    • “walking dandruff” in the mane and top of tail
  • Leg mites:
    • lying down to chew at their legs
    • stamping
    • scabs to the front of the hind legs from hocks down
    • scabs at the back of the knees
    • occasionally itchy across their bodies
    • these most commonly affect cobs or cob crosses but can be seen on all breeds of horses especially if they have been bedded down on straw.
  • pinworm:
    • whilst technically an internal parasite, the signs are usually external
    • rubbing at tail head
    • very very itchy in this region, can even impale themselves on branches trying to get rid of the itch

All of these need topical or systemic treatment, on the affected areas. Drugs like “deosect”, “dectomax” or pinworm treatment are used to help rid equines of these problems. You should confer with your vet, in order to ensure the correct treatment is being given. Some chronic cases of leg mites may need further treatment on top of either washes or injectable drugs and these should be discussed further with your vet.