Summer is here and so are the flies. What you do not see are the tiny little gnats that irritate your horse more than the typical stable flies. They have many names, Biting Midges, No see-ums, and Culicoides. They are a tiny little gnat, less than an 1/8th of an inch in size, than can drive your horse crazy. They typically feed along the belly of your horse, also known as the ventral midline, and also in the ears. If you feel closely, the hair is much shorter or not even present. These gnats take small blood meals, but the saliva they leave behind is extremely allergenic. You may notice your horse biting at its flanks, kicking at its belly, or maybe even confuse it with colic as one client did when their horse was on the ground rubbing its abdomen in the dirt just to itch itself.

So what can you do? Fly control measures. Pick up manure as often as possible, twice a day minimum is the best. Fly repellents, especially ointments, help to keep them away. Fly sheets help marginally as they do not cover the problem areas. Fly masks that include covering for the ears work great for ear problems. For more severe cases, we may prescribe topical and/or systemic steroids and antibiotics to control potential infection. If you notice any sores or bleeding along the ventral midline, chances are these pesky little critters are to blame. If have questions, give us a call. As always, questions are free.

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