It's that dreaded tick season again and apart from being vigilant, I don't know how to prevent my horse being a walking target - however does anyone know if a sore looking patch from a tick bite is necessarily an indication that it will turn into full blown 'Piroplasmose"??

I called the vet this morning and he just says to 'keep an eye' on him - but last year the same thing happened and it took days before it became apparent that he had the infection in his blood - we nearly lost him! I do understand that we can't anti-dote them 'just in case' but the wondering and waiting drives me mad!!

Ouch that is expensive. The active constituent in Butox is Deltamethrin, I wonder if its in a higher percentage concentration in Ectotrine. It will be the cattle that attract the flies and mouche plats.

Chickens do work for reducing tick numbers as well as snakes! Butox 7,5 (available from the vet or pharmacy) stops most biters including those awful mouche plats that most horses hate. Its a pour- on treatment that soaks into the skin, its worth doing a test patch first to make sire your horse doesn't react to it, then you pour it along the mane and spine (avoiding the saddle area if its a riding horse) I have used it for several years and never had a problem in fact one of my horses gets a nasty allergic reaction to harvest mites and his face swells up like a balloon and Butox stops it happening. Its not cheap at about 22€ for a 250ml bottle but each dose lasts up to 6 weeks so it works out quite reasonable.

I've also ordered the 'Neem Oil' and the anti-bacterial product that Julie recommended - I live on the edge of a forest so I need to stock up on all preventative products that work well (I also get allergic reactions to wasps)!

Daunus has pretty much stayed in his box all day, but I think that's to avoid the flies and I've checked is temperature which was just over 37 - he seems to be eating ok at the mo - but I will have to keep an eye on him for the next few hours. Good to know Annette that the sores don't necessarily mean it's a biliary carrier that's bitten him ((argh, I thought it was) hence vet trying to calm me down earlier!

The area you are seeing is just a reaction to the bite. The immune system fighting the toxins in the saliva of the tick. It doesn't mean that that bite from that tick is carrying the biliary. Some horses are more prone to show a reaction to biting critters and some really break out with crusty weeping sores, other just get small bumps, no different to people really! Some horses are really bothered by bites and will go and rub and scratch whilst others don't seem to feel it much. Just watch it doesn't get infected....so yes anytype of bacterial cream will stop infection going in an open bite sore.
Good for you for trying to avoid rather than treat later.

Completely forgot about Neem oil....not used it myself but know many other people that swear by it! Good thinking Sandy!!! Off to google it and see if I can get some here.....

Thanks, I appreciate all this really good advice - at the moment he is munching away on my lawn as I type this! I am hoping that he has built up some immunity since the infection last year. I've treated the area where he has reacted to the bite with Betadine - on the advice of the vet - it's like a weapy sore but the vet assured me that this doesn't necessarily lead to an infection of the blood.

Annette, you are a marvel - yes we want to keep chickens too so we should really get on with it!! Also, I forgot that it's a good indication to take his temp. that's how I found out last time, he's a sulky horse anyway to it's hard to tell by his mood!!

I'll keep you all posted, thanks again, Sharon xx

Long term you may want to look at mowing your pastures short and getting some free range chickens. They will do the ticks as well as keep your fly count down in summer. :-)

I would be wary of using a "frontline" type product on your horse as it is absorbed by the skin and taken up into the system. Although it may be good for other types of parasites I am not sure it would be very effective against ticks (they are very hardy buggers!!!).
There has been some use of garlic being fed in the horses feed which seems to work to a degree although I have not tried it personally.
Dipping (tick dip products) will keep the ticks at bay for a while but again a system toxin. Tick grease also is taken up into the system through the skin but would be a smaller amount, area applied.....
There are also injections which farmers use for cattle (and are not recommended or researched on horses) like dectomax which can be used if there is a really bad infestation specifically in the ear canal that is persistant. It too is a toxin so everytime you are using these products you are systematically giving your horse a dose of poison along with the ticks.
It's a tough call....on the one hand prevention of the ticks and possible biliary and on the other knowingly stressing the horses system......

Hi Sharon,
It's been my experience that once a horse or dog has had biliary they do tend to build some immunity. That is not to say that they won't get it again, but normally it is far worse the first time they neeed to fight it. It is very important that you catch it early. Refusal of food is normally the first indication, although some horses do continue to eat even when they are days into it. Temperature is a good indication and something you should teach your horse to do (having a thermometer inserted) and it's a good idea to know what "normal" range is for your horse. Lethergy follows.....
There is not much you can do about the environment although ticks appear in abundance in correlation with weather patterns and also in certain areas. So if you see all of a sudden lots of ticks when previously there were few you may want to moniter the areas your horse has access to.Ie tcks like bushes and long grasses as it is easy to pick up passing hosts!!!
It is possible to have your horse covered in ticks but not get biliary (none are carrying) and to not even see a tick yet your horse has been bitten by a single tick that is carrying.
Here we have "tick grease". It is highly poisonous so must be used with caution but when tick season hits (right now we are going in to spring and there are plenty) we put some grease on the horses heels which does limit the amount of ticks that will crawl up the horses legs. Each day we remove ticks when the horses have come back from grazing paying attention to the heels,chin groove and elbow joints and under the tail. Ask at your local co-op what the farmers use for cattle. It is normally locked away and not available on the shelf re it's toxic nature.
If in doubt at all, do call a vet, it's a simple blood test and once treatment starts it's usually only a few days before recovery. If you don't catch it early it can be weeks before the horse really recovers and it's important not to over stress the horse during this time and elevate his heart rate.
At this stage I would just watch your horse for behaviour. Is he standing somewhere when all the others have left? Is he reluctant to eat or not walking up the pasture with the same enthusiasm as normal? If you observe your horse often you can normally suspect something is not quite right long before anyone else notices there is something wrong.