Creepy Crawlies, Part 2: Tremendous Ticks

Ticks can infect horses with an array of diseases including piroplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Lyme disease.

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Creepy Crawlies, Part 2: Tremendous Ticks
Be familiar with the types of ticks found in your geographical area, what they look like, and where on the horse they are typically found. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Marianne Sloet

Ticks can infect horses with an array of diseases including equine piroplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Lyme disease.

In the first article of this series, we learned that mosquitoes have been touted the “deadliest” animal on earth because they can transmit a plethora of life-threatening infectious diseases to both humans and animals. Because ticks spread what might be the widest variety of disease-causing agents to animals, including bacteria, parasites, and viruses, it is therefore reasonable to crown ticks “First Deadly Runners-Up.”

“There is an array of infections that North American horses can acquire from ticks, including equine piroplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Lyme disease, to name a few,” says Robert Mealey, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “These diseases can be challenging to diagnose, are potentially life-threatening to the infected horse as well as horses residing nearby, and in some cases are able to infect humans.”

Avoidance is one of the most important ways to minimize your horse’s chances of acquiring a tick-borne disease, but would you recognize a tick if you saw one? In this article three veterinarians will describe ticks–where they live and how they are detrimental to your horse–and review ways to protect your horse (and you) from being their next meal ticket

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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