Ticks In The Fall

The autumn chill brings with it some pretty great things. The start of the holiday season and all of that great food, for one. Cooler weather, which is appreciated by those of us in warmer climates. And at the barn, hope of an end to the fly season. For most of us, when we see less flies buzzing our horses, we send up a cheer, then pack away the sprays, masks and sheets for next season.

Pepper #1

Unfortunately, not every pest disappears with summer. Deer ticks remain a menace to horses throughout the fall and even into early winter. The hearty little acaridae hide in the low plants that line fields and trails, just waiting to find a new host with horses. Many equine clinics report that incidences of Lyme disease actually increase during this time.

It’s the life cycle of the deer tick that puts horses at high risk for the fall months, particularly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. During the spring and summer, these ticks are in the larval and nymph stages of life, and feed primarily on small mammals and birds. It is during the fall months that they mature into adults, and begin feeding on larger animals, such as deer and horses. It is important that horses are protected from ticks, even in the fall, as they carry disease. UltraShield® was there for you all summer, and offers three options to control ticks in the fall too: UltraShield® EX, UltraShield® Red, and UltraShield® Green.Equine fly spray bottle

  • UltraShield EX is designed for the most challenging conditions. EX’s weatherproof formula kills and repels deer ticks, brown dog ticks, and lone star ticks.Equine fly spray bottle
  • UltraShield Red is another option available for killing ticks which can also be used on llamas and alpacas. Its effective 24/7 protection with five active ingredients is ideal for turn-out.Natural equine fly spray bottle
  • UltraShield Green offers natural protection, in an eco-safe formula that effectively repels deer and dog ticks. Read the independent efficacy study.

Continuing to apply one of these UltraShield products throughout the fall season can help protect horses from ticks in the fall. “We’d like to remind horse owners that although fly activity decreases in the cooler months, ticks still pose a serious threat to horses,” says Chris Jacobi, General Manager, Equine Division at Absorbine®. “It is essential that an effective tick control program is maintained into the fall, and UltraShield products offer the protection horses need.”

Management strategies

Trim plants at the edges of turn-out areas or anywhere your horse grazes down below one foot tall. Trim overhead branches as well because ticks can jump from low-hanging branches onto your horse.

Horses in a field

Trim plants on the fence line and remove low-hanging branches

In order to transmit Lyme or ehrlichiosis disease, a tick needs to be attached for 24 hours, so try to check your horse after it’s been outside and remove any visible ticks. Pay special attention to the jawline, the tail and anus area, elbows and the underside of the horse as these are common areas a tick will attach itself. Remember that deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, are much smaller than brown dog ticks or Lone Star ticks.

If a tick is found crawling on your horse, remove it and secure it in a plastic bag then put in the trash. Do not try to kill it with your hands.

If it is already attached, use fine-tipped tweezers or a special tick removal tool to remove the tick by grasping it as close to the horse’s skin as possible. Pull it out with steady even motion so none of its head breaks off in the skin. Once it’s been disposed of, disinfect the horse’s skin and your hands.

To learn more about the complete line of UltraShield fly control products, visit www.absorbine.com/fly-control.

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