Mites are microscopic arthropods that can infect horses by hitching a ride on them, laying eggs and potentially causing mange. Mites cause damage by drawing blood out of their host, causing weakness and scaly skin, and causing the host animal to be susceptible to illnesses and diseases. Removing mites from your horse will require careful planning and thorough cleaning of items used in and around the animal.
Quarantine the infested horse in a clean area in your barn or horse shelter. The mites are highly contagious, potentially infecting other horses.
Disinfect all supplies used on and around the horse. Follow the instructions on the package of the borax to disinfect grooming supplies. Borax is an agent that is especially effective in dehydrating and subsequently killing mite eggs and their larvae. Borax will have to be administered for up to six weeks for it to be effective in derailing the life cycle of existing adult mites. Small items made up of fabric can be washed in the washing machine with hot water and washing powder.
Mix 59 ml (2 oz) of iodine in a bottle of baby shampoo. Dampen the horse with a water hose and apply the mixture onto the horse's body. Make sure to douse areas that have signs of infestation like scaly, dry skin. Allow the mixture to soak for a few minutes. With a gentle horse brush, massage the solution into the skin and hair. Thoroughly rinse the horse with a water hose. Mop up excessive moisture with clean towels and allow any dampness to naturally evaporate.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of neem oil in 237 ml (1 cup) of warm water. Dip a small clean towel or cloth into the mixture. Gently massage the cloth over the infected, raw, scaly areas. Neem oil will leave a light, protective film. It will also keep the skin supple, facilitating hair growth in areas that may be balding.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around living stables, including outdoor roaming areas and sheds. Food-grade diatomaceous earth consists of sedimentary rock that works against mites by dehydrating their exoskeleton. Follow the instructions in the back of the package for proper frequency and usage of the diatomaceous earth.
Consult your vet if the horse's health is declining or not improving.
Tips and warnings
- Consult your vet if the horse's health is declining or not improving.