biting lice advice

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Well-Known Member
Nov 29, 2009
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In august of 2012 I got a new mini mare. She was checked and had a healthy appearance. In spring of 2013 she had biting lice which I treated her and her buddy along with the barn. I have 2 small barns. Well the lice has appeared again and I am treating again. So far it is isolated to the barn she is in. I have read all that I can find on lice and horses, been able to identify the type of lice but I have not been able to find how it spreads. So far I have it only on 2 horses in the same barn. The other 5 in my 2nd barn do not have lice. I have kept the horses that have lice isolated from the others. How does this pest spread to other horses? I only see it in the spring or am I not getting all the eggs?
I appreciate your desire to keep the lice from spreading, but in all likelihood they already have or maybe lice were on your farm and the 2 new ones got lice after the move. Animals have immunity to parasites just like viruses and bacteria, so animals may have the 'bugs' even though they show no signs.

Treatment for all forms of lice is dusting with dairy louse powder from poll to rump and deworming with ivermectin. Do each of these for a minimum of 2 doses 2 weeks apart.

Dr. Taylor
I had the same problem on both my mares. When I bought them, they were covered in lice.

The best thing to do, IMO, is to shave them with a full body shave, and then to dust then with lice powder afterwards.

All of the lice were gone within one week for me.
Ok so far only 1 has it. I got 2 more horses to clip all had worming with ivermectin last sunday and I have treated with the lice powder and will be changing to the other lice treatment (different mode of action with the active ingredient) for this sunday. I have owned this farm for over 20 years and had horses here for 20 years and never had a problem or any evidence of lice on my horses. I thought I had eradicated them last year, but the champagne mare I got in 2013 has them again. The other one was born here and never had them until after the champagne mare came and I only see them in the spring. Being a horticultural entomologist, I am wondering if I am missing something that I may not be treating aside from barn, horses. Should I be treating the area outside my pastures how do they spread.
Sorry made a typographic error in my last post. It's the champagne mare that I got in 2012.
Lice are quite temperature sensitive and stop breeding once ambient temps go above like 50', plus they also need long hair to reproduce.


1) Warmer spring weather generally becomes a cure by itself

2) If you choose to shave then no other treatment is needed

3) To prevent spread you can attempt to spray everything and everywhere with insecticide, but I've never seen this work and I don't like the idea of having that much chemical all over the place.

A better form of prevention is doing the dairy louse powder/ivermectin 2 Rx's at 2 week intervals when cold weather strikes in the fall.

Dr. Taylor
We got this horse in CMHR from a breeding farm over the winter with the worst case of lice I have ever seen in my entire life. They were sucking the life out of him. He was so infested it was beyond our belief. It took ivermectrin and FOUR delousing treatments of lice powder to get rid of them. We can't wait til it warms up enough to shave that poor little thing. He's not suffering anymore and doing well.

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Thankyou for the information It is very helpful and I will burn the hair that I clipped from the horses again and try preventative lice powder in the fall. I have not tried that but have done everthing else I could think of or could find on the lice. As I also do not like using chemicals every where. I am glad that the poor little guy above is doing better now.
I have had lice and mites several times on my horses and mites on me every spring.When the birds come into my barn to nest so do the lice and mites.I've got many mite bites now on my upper body.The itch like crazy.Only in the spring when the birds come.Lice you can see crawling-mites are harder to see Only saw 1 once with a magnifying glass.I HATE birds in my barn
I've never experienced this, but I am wondering if the product Tempo would be helpful. It can be sprayed around barns as long as it is dry before the livestock contact it. It is the best thing we've ever found for hard to kill insects such as mites and thrips. Around the foundation of the house, it kills scorpions and other pests for months. Home pest services use it. We have sprayed it around our chicken house for flies and all around our property for grasshoppers. Might be something to check into.

And speaking of wild birds, we just lost a chicken to a viral disease carried by wild birds. Virtually impossible to keep them out of the chicken food and places where they drink, as our chickens are free range during the day.

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