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5 Tips for Protecting Your Horse During Botfly Season

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As a horse owner, you are probably aware that fall is a botfly season. Botflies, also known as gadflies, look similar to honeybees in both their shape and coloring. Botflies pose a threat to large mammals such as horses because they lay larvae eggs on a horse’s skin, which enter their mouth and eventually the digestive system when a horse licks and bites the site of the eggs to relieve the itch and irritation. Depending on the severity of the infestation, a horse may suffer from problems in the mouth and stomach, which can cause them to stop eating. Additional symptoms may include inflammation and colic. There are steps horse owners can take to protect their gentle giants from a botfly invasion. First, head on over to My Hooves and Paws to peruse our extensive selection of insect control for horses, as a well as safe and effective horse wormers. In the meantime, here are five tips for you to consider for safeguarding your horses from botflies this fall.

Ways To Protect Your Horse During Bot Season

Understand The Yearly Botfly Cycle

Female botflies lay their eggs on the skin of horses, typically on their legs, knees, belly, chin, and nose. Once the horse bites or licks the area where the eggs have been laid, the eggs are transferred to the mouth where they incubate for about a three to four week period. Then, the larvae move into the horse’s stomach and attach into the stomach lining and incubate for another eight to ten months. They mature during this time and then are passed out of the horse through its feces where they are deposited in the ground and will emerge as adult botflies, continuing the cycle again and again. Understanding the yearly cycle of botflies can help you prevent an infestation the following season by taking the appropriate defensive measures to protect your horses.

Cover Them With Fly Sheets

Fly sheets are an effective way for protecting your horse’s body from pesky flies. Why general fly bites can be painful and irritating for your horse, a botfly laying its eggs on their skin cause months of distress and discomfort for your horse and a lot of worry for you. Horse fly sheets cover the main portion of the body, including the stomach, while still giving your horse plenty of freedom to move and run as they normally would. By covering the belly region during bot season, you can significantly reduce the threat of a botfly infestation. Plus, fly sheets can also protect your horse from harmful UV rays during the late summer and fall season.

Face and Head Covers

Like fly sheets, face and head covers provide a barrier against botflies looking to lay their eggs on the chin and nose of a horse. Noble Outfitters makes a durable, comfortable fly mask for horses that not only protects them from flies and insects, but also shields them from UV rays. Cashel fly masks are ideal for protecting your horse from flies while you ride, as the comfortable, breathable nylon mesh protects their eyes, cheeks, foreheads, and noses from pesky flies while riding.

Fly Spray

There are a number of fly repellent sprays, salves, and ointments that can safely protect your horse from botflies. For instance, Country Vet Metered Fly Spray can be applied to your horse’s environment, such as their stall, throughout the barn, and in the stable, to keep the flies away and killing any that invade their space. Swat Fly Repellent Ointment can protect any open wounds, sores, scratches, and abrasions on your horse that could attract botflies.

Regular Inspections

Paying attention to your horse’s behaviors and performing regular inspections on their bodies and extremities can help you identify a botfly infestation. Visually inspecting your horse’s body can help your detect a problem early on for immediate intervention. If you notice them licking and biting the areas where botflies prefer to lay their eggs, you can either contact your veterinarian who can perform further testing for diagnosis and treatment. If you notice your horse behaving unusually or if they have little to no appetite, are lethargic, or appear to be in discomfort, your horse may have larvae living in their stomach. Using high quality horse wormers like equine ivermectin is one of the most effective horse wormers for treating a bot infestation. Horse wormers can encourage the larvae to move out of your horse’s system much quicker. This can also prevent the cycle from starting over if you are able to catch the larvae before they have entered the mature stage when they emerge from the feces of an infected horse, and thus, infest your horse’s environment.

Shop Our Online Pet Store

We are passionate about offering helpful insights and quality horse care products to help you keep your gentle giants safe during bot season and year-round. For the best fly and insect prevention and horse wormers, visit My Hooves and Paws, where we always offer the highest quality horse products at the lowest prices. While your there, be sure to check out our extensive selection of horse products, stable equipment, and horse riding gear for humans such as Noble Outfitters® boot socks and riding gloves, and Troxel® horse riding helmets for all riders.

Along with our horse supplies, we carry all the top brands for dogs, cats, and fish, too! At My Hooves and Paws, we offer something for all pets! Shop our online pet store today and save!


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