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18 Apr Deer Ticks and Your Horse

Don’t be complacent in avoiding deer ticks.

The warmer weather brings about a rise in Lyme Disease and the need to keep an eye on your animals.

We have had several clients already this spring finding deer ticks on their horses. It is important not to be complacent and think that this long winter would have killed off any ticks in the area. In the upcoming year we look forward to a potential new equine vaccination for Lyme disease arriving on the market, until then we are left with trying to prevent ticks however possible, and considering the canine vaccination off-label in horses. We have a quick “Snap” style test for the presence of antibodies to the Lyme disease-causing bacteria in the blood of horses, which can be performed stall-side. Samples can also be sent to Cornell’s Diagnostic Laboratory for a more detailed result (which can indicate if the infection is chronic or acute, as well as how high the titers are).

When the infected tick is attached to the horse for over 24 hours, the risk of contracting Lyme Disease is much higher. Please feel over your horses daily to prevent longer attachment and help minimize disease. Keeping pastures low can also help. After trail riding, when horses have been in taller grass and brush it is particularly important to check them over for ticks.