Flies are irritating to both horse and man.

Some flies can transmit disease by transferring organisms from the blood, lesions, or mucus of an infected horse down to another horse when they feed. Some flies can also serve as a mediator of equine parasites, giving assistance to these parasites in completing their life cycle. These flies can harbor immature parasitic forms and transfer them to a horse when they feed. And some flies, can just be plainly irritating that they can flare up skin allergies. Here are some of the common problems brought about by different flies.

Allergic Dermatitis – Irritating skin allergies can be brought about by black flies. Antigens are present in their saliva and can cause extreme reactions in horses. Their bites can initially be anesthetic, but they can become very painful and itchy once blisters or nodules start to form.

Mechanical Dermatitis – Horn-fly and stable-fly bites can cause inflammation, wheals, and abrasions, scabs and scars may result if repeatedly scratched. The horn-fly can be brutal; it rasps the surface of the skin to encourage the flow of blood, and then comes its painful bite. Bites from horn-flies can cause hair loss and abdominal ulcerations. Bites from stable flies leave nodules that can bleed out and scab later on.

Apart from the flies mentioned above, surface parasites can also cause equine diseases. For instance, screwworm flies and blowflies lay their eggs on surface wounds and once the eggs hatch and become maggots, they will start to feed on and further damaging the skin tissues. There are various parasites that take advantage of flies as their intermediate hosts. Habronema species use stable flies to find their way through the horse’s wounds. Their larvae can mature inside the horse’s stomach when swallowed but normally, the worm infestations are not that troublesome. However, those larvae that remain in the flesh and feed on it can cause lesions that may not seem to heal and usually, they happen every summer for which they are commonly called equine summer sores.

Another common insect that may potentially harm your horse are botflies. These flies can continue their lifecycle using the horse to their full advantage. Botflies lay their eggs on the horse’s hair, and as the horse licks its coat, he can ingest the eggs where they will travel to the stomach and mature into larvae, where they reside inside the horse for about 9 months before they are passed out via manure and continue their lifecycle. Bot infections are not that serious but heavy and uncontrolled infestations can trigger colic and cause stomach ulceration, discomfort and even death.

Protecting your horse from insect-borne diseases requires fly control measures and management of the horse’s environment. For the common infestations brought about by stomach worms and bot larvae, equine dewormers can simply solve the problem. Ivermectin for horses is effective at targeting both stomach worms and bot larvae. For affordable ivermectin that is easy to use, choose AbIver™ granules only from Abler.