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How Can You Tell If A Horse Has Mites?

Mites are tiny, parasitic creatures that can cause a variety of health problems for horses. If your horse has mites, you will likely notice the signs fairly quickly. While mites can be challenging to detect in some cases, there are certain signs and symptoms you should look out for that can help you identify an infestation. In this article, we will explore how to tell if a horse has mites, how to diagnose mites in horses, and how to treat mites in horses.

Signs and Symptoms of Mites in Horses

If your horse has mites, there are a few different signs and symptoms you can look for. These include:

  • Itching: One of the most common signs of mites in horses is itching or scratching. This can be especially noticeable around the ears, face, and neck, as these are the areas most commonly affected by mites.
  • Skin lesions: Mites can cause skin lesions, which are typically red, raised, and itchy. These lesions can also be painful and may ooze fluid.
  • Hair loss: Mites can also cause hair loss, which may be accompanied by itching or scratching.
  • Sores: Mites can cause sores on the skin, which may be accompanied by swelling and redness.
  • Weight loss: Mites can cause weight loss in horses, as the horse is unable to absorb nutrients from its food properly.

Diagnosing Mites in Horses

If you suspect your horse has mites, there are a few different ways to diagnose the condition. The most common methods of diagnosis include:

  • Skin scrapings: Your vet can take a skin scraping from the affected area and examine it under the microscope to look for mite eggs or mites themselves. This is the most accurate way to diagnose mites in horses.
  • Blood tests: A blood test can also be used to diagnose mites in horses. The blood test will check for antibodies produced by the horse’s immune system in response to the mites.
  • Hair sample: A hair sample can also be taken from the affected area and examined under the microscope. This is a less accurate method of diagnosis, but can still be useful.
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Treating Mites in Horses

Once mites have been diagnosed in a horse, it is important to treat the condition promptly. Treatment for mites in horses typically involves the use of topical or systemic medications. These medications will kill the mites and help the horse recover.

Topical Medications

Topical medications are applied directly to the skin and are typically effective at killing mites. These medications can be purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by your vet.

Systemic Medications

Systemic medications are taken orally or injected and are typically more effective at killing mites than topical medications. These medications are typically prescribed by a vet and should be used with caution, as they can have side effects.

Preventing Mites in Horses

Once your horse has been treated for mites, it is important to take steps to prevent a re-infestation. This can include:

  • Regular grooming: Regular grooming can help to remove mites and their eggs from the horse’s coat and skin.
  • Clean bedding: It is important to keep the horse’s bedding clean and dry, as mites thrive in damp and dirty environments.
  • Frequent vet visits: It is important to take your horse for regular vet visits, as your vet can monitor the horse for signs of mites and treat them quickly if they are detected.
  • Mite repellents: There are a variety of mite repellents available that can be used to prevent mites from infesting your horse.


Mites can be a challenging problem for horses, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, they can be managed successfully. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mites in horses, as well as the best methods for diagnosing and treating the condition. In addition, taking steps to prevent mites from infesting your horse is key to keeping them healthy and happy.