We all know what summer time brings, those annoying little flies that seem to be everywhere. You find them in your car, your house and of course the stable. But do you know that painful bites are not the only thing these flies can bring to you and your horse? We all know about the horrible illnesses that come about in the summer time, and these flies are the perfect transporter. We all need to learn how to effectively protect our horses from these annoying and sometimes deadly creatures.
Tabanid is the name for the category that all these flies fall under. Tabanids must feed on blood every 3-4 days. Because they ingest the blood, it is very easy to see how blood borne diseases can be transmitted by these pesky creatures.
The Deer Fly
These flies are easy to spot, they have a yellowish color and have very dark spots on it's body.
The Horse Fly
This fly comes in several shapes, sizes and colors. This fly is known to transmit Mechanical Dermatitis. This is basic destruction because of the bite itself. The horse will often keep scratching causing the wound to be reopened several times.
The Black Fly
This fly also lives on blood, but mainly feeds on the inside of the ear, inside the thighs and on the underside of your horse. The Black Fly is also known as Gnats.
Also known as the moniker sandflies. These creatures will usually cause an allergic reaction, causing the horse to rub itself raw. These guys usually target the manes, withers and the base of the tail. These flies almost always attack in swarms. They are also known to cause Sweet Itch. The gnats are also the main transmitter for Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE & WEE). This is a viral brain infection that is fatal to both horses and humans.
The House Fly
These creatures are annoying and not blood sucking. The only problem is that they often carry disease because they jump from animal to animal.
We all know who this guy is. This is the most common transmitter for disease. They are blood sucking monsters.
The following diseases can be spread by almost any blood sucking fly:
This is considered one of the more dreaded illnesses. Often found in dry, dusty conditions anthrax causes fever and sudden death. Biting flies are the most common transmitter, this can also be spread through wind and water.
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)
Also known as swamp fever, this is mostly spread by bigger flies such as horse flies and deer flies and sometimes spread from horse to horse by the smaller house flies. Symptoms include fever, weakness and swelling in the legs or belly. There is no effective treatment
As you can see, these animals can be deadly. We need to make sure to protect all of our horses. Here are some easy steps to take:
-Mosquito's love water. Make sure to change out your water often to keep them laying eggs in it.
-Fly masks are a wonderful invention. Use them.
-When riding, put a fly bonnet on your horse.
-Fly spray! Use it all the time!
-Use fly sticky strips or fly catchers in your stable to help lower the population.
-Clean your horse stalls on a regular basis. Flies love the smelly stalls.