All you need to know about Feather Mites in horses and how to treat them
Feather mites are tiny creatures that cause extreme irritation to horses of all breeds but they are particularly irritating to large horses with lots of fur in the lower leg area. This provides the perfect environment for feather mites.
Feather mites scientific name is Chorioptic Mange Mites, which thrive in the warm environment provided by the excess fur next to the skin. They feed on skin debris and will breed quite rapidly in such perfect conditions. Whilst they do not burrow into the skin, Chorioptic Mange Mites will make daily life for the affected horse extremely uncomfortable.
An infestation of feather mites is known as Pastern Dermatitis.
Recognising the signs of Feather Mites
The first warning signs that you may notice is a change of behaviour in your horse. It may rub itself against trees, gates and anything that provides a suitable scratching surface as feather mites create extreme itching.
Symptoms of Feather Mites
Once the horse has started rubbing and scratching due to the irritation, the skin will redden and will become raw and broken in areas. This can lead to further infection creating lesions, scabbing and swelling. Such conditions will cause the horse further discomfort as bacteria and fungal infections will follow.
Feather Mites are difficult to get rid of as they thrive in areas other than just the horse itself. They will thrive in stable bedding, horse blankets and even the equipment used for grooming.
To ensure that the infestation is completely removed, all these areas require to be treated as well as the horse.
If left untreated feather mites can thrive for months and even years. This in turn can lead to extremely poorly horses in terrible condition.
How to recognise if your horse has feather mites
As mentioned above, one of the first signs owners notice is the scratching behaviour of the horse. Look in the fur on the back of the leg and see peel it back to have a close look at the skin. If the surface is red or has an appearance of a rash it is highly likely to be caused by feather mites.
In particular, look for loose dark skin debris; this will be slightly more difficult to remove than general dirt as it has come from the follicle of the hair and may well still have the hair in the middle.
The sores and irritation will get progressively worse if left untreated.
Treating Horses with Feather Mites
Before applying Lice all Mitey, use equipment you are sure is clear of feather mite infestation to clean and groom the affected areas. Remove dead skin and wash sores and scabs.
Spray Lice all Mitey directly onto the affected areas and the surrounding areas. This will immediately repel all parasites and have an immediate soothing effect on the lesions and wounds.
Spray daily for seven days.
Other practical things to do.
When thinking about feather mites it is advisable to think about head lice in children. The reason is because if you treat your child and rid their head of lice, if other other areas where the lice are prevalent are left untreated such as pillows and bedding etc, the child will soon have the lice again. Therefore it is essential to take other precautions rather than just treating the affected area.
We suggest the following…
Clip excess hair near the affected areas
Change the horses bedding.
Wash the blankets, rugs and grooming equipment
Clean the floors with our stable wash
Although LICE all MITEY is completely safe to use we advise to avoid direct contact with eyes and it should be kept out of reach of children.