Lice in horses

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    This article has been edited and approved by Karen Coumbe MRCVS, H&H’s veterinary advisor since 1991.
  • Lice in horses: Types | Signs | Risk factors | Transmission | Treatment

    A lice infestation is one of the most common causes of itchiness in horses, properly called pruritus. Lice are most common in cool damp climates in late winter and early spring. In short, if your horse or pony is itching, always rule out lice and indeed other parasites, such as mites, before thinking of other causes of itchiness, such as sweet itch.

    Horse owners tend to be more concerned about internal parasites, namely worms; yet external parasites, like lice and mites can be a major nuisance as well as having an impact on equine health. Horses that are crawling with lice must be uncomfortable and may fail to thrive. A severe infestation can cause anaemia due to the raw skin sores that are caused and because some varieties of lice are blood sucking.

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