Isn’t it funny how even those of us quite accustomed to finding the odd flea traversing the tummy of a barn cat or Jack Russell react with the utmost horror to the sight of something crawling on our horses? We don’t tend to give external parasites–creepy little critters like mites, lice, and ticks-a lot of consideration in our day-to-day horse management, but they can have just as much impact on our equines’ health as the internal parasites (worms and bots) we’re so much more used to dealing with.

Courtesy University of Ky./Dr. Fred Knapp

Ticks are responsible for carrying an alarming number of diseases.

External parasites need a little more press–and not only because they give us the willies. They can be responsible for a host of symptoms ranging from mild (skin itching or hair loss) to severe (spasms, seizures, and blood loss). But there’s another serious consideration as well–many external parasites are disease carriers, and some of those diseases are deadly. So let’s delve into the secret world of multi-legged crawlers and find out a little about how they live and how to combat them.

Know Thine Enemy<