Fly Protection For Horses

Flies bother horses especially around their eyes, what can you do to protect your horse?

Arghh Flies!!!!  This is a very common phrase coming from my mum at this time of year.

Mum always says that the worst thing about summer isn’t the heat or humidity, it’s the horrible annoying flies.  The flies are everywhere!! They are buzzing around you, in your face, they fly up your nose and in your mouth.  Around the stables, the feed, the horses, the dogs, the paddocks, they seem to be everywhere at this time of year, and they drive my mum and I crazy.

They upset the horses too.  Even the calmest horse can be aggravated by flies causing them to be more nervous or harder to work or handle.  You see the horses stomping their feet, swishing their tails and rubbing their heads, just trying to get rid of them.  The flies that are most commonly a problem around horses during the summer months are the “biting flies”.  This includes the Stable Fly, March Fly, Midges (Sand Flies) and Mosquitoes.  These flies are a common nuisance for horses as they can inflict quite a painful bite which can then develop into a welt and become itchy.  These biting flies do not transmit diseases (except for Mosquitoes) but secondary problems from the flies hanging around can develop.  A very common problem caused by the presence of flies is sore, runny, inflamed and gunky eyes.

Protect your horse from flies

When the flies start coming out we start putting flyveils on our horses and applying fly repellents.  We have been asked many times “why is that horse wearing a blindfold?”.  A flyveil is designed from shade cloth or mesh style material which the horse can see through but it protects their eyes from the flies and also provides sun protection.  Flyveils like the Flyveils By Design, come in all different sizes and colours.  There are also flyveils with an extended nose, to help cover the nose and protect it from sunburn as well as flyveils with extended nose and ear protection to cover the ears.  We put flyveils on all our horses during the summer months and fly periods. This helps provide some relief for the horses and stop the flies from bothering their eyes.  We also use a fly repellent on the horses when there are a lot of flies around and especially if we notice Buffalo Fly or Midgies.  There is a wide range of insect repellents for horses available but Shield Pour-On Fly Repellent or Brute Wipe On Insecticide are our favourites.  We also find the need to have on hand an antibacterial cream or wound gel which has fly repellent properties.  We like the Troy Protecta Cream.

Reduce flies around the house and stables

Around the stables we like to try and reduce the number of flies as they drive us crazy.  The best thing to do is keep the areas clean, cover all feed and rubbish and keep manure away from the area.  There are also many fly and insect control products available that are suitable for use around stables and paddocks.  We are currently using Quickbayt Fly Bait to help reduce the numbers of flies around our stables.

Protect cattle from flies

Flies also bother other livestock particularly cattle.  As well as nuisance flies like Stable Flies and March Flies, Buffalo Fly is a very big problem for cattle.  Buffalo Flies can interrupt feeding, cause sores, reduce production and even prevent cattle from being able to be sold.  When treating cattle it is very important to be careful and aware of withholding periods on products that you use on cattle that are going to be for human consumption and cows whose milk is consumed.  Non chemical control methods are important like using traps and keeping areas clean and free from manure where possible.  High numbers of dung beetles can also help reduce and control the number of flies in an area. There are many products available to use on cattle to help control flies and other external parasites.  Popular choices are Ivomec Pour On for Cattle and Coopers Easy Dose Cattle Lice & Fly Treatment 1L.

Flies on dogs and cats

Just like flies annoy us they can also be a nuisance for our dogs and cats.  Generally flies don’t cause too much harm to dogs or cats apart from being annoying. If flies are present in high numbers and an animal is being bitten a lot, it can cause skin irritation.  There are many fly protection products available to deter flies from dogs and cats like Flygon Insecticidal and Repellent Spray.

So if flies are bothering you and your animals this summer I suggest trying some of the methods and products discussed to help reduce the number of flies and make the summer more enjoyable for you and your animals.

Until next time,

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Author: Bec

From a very young age Bec has always had a great love and appreciation for all animals. Bec is a qualified Veterinary Nurse and also has a Bachelor in Applied Science Animal Studies with special interest in Wildlife and Recreational Animals. Her studies have been put to good use working in various animal industries including small and large animal veterinary clinics, horse studs and the family cattle property. Horses have played an important part in her life, living on a horse stud and caring for horses throughout breeding, foaling, spelling, racing and retirement. Bec is the proud mum of two gorgeous girls, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel, a cheeky cockatiel, chickens and many horses including a naughty little pony.

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