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Can Horses Get Fleas?

While it’s not entirely impossible for horses to get fleas, it is unusual. For the most part healthy horses can resist flea predation. Additionally, fleas are typically host specific (targeting only certain types of animals). For example, cat fleas do not infest dogs, and dog fleas do not infest cats.

Even so, in unusual circumstances fleas may attempt to get a meal from an unusual host. In this article will discuss the improbability of horses getting fleas and provide tips to help you avoid this unlikely occurrence. Read on to learn more.

When Could A Horse Get Fleas?

when could a horse get fleas

Horses that are unhealthy are naturally subject to illness and parasite infestation. A horse who is underweight, sick, aged or otherwise in compromised health would be likely to attract mites, ticks, fleas and other fairly unusual parasites.

Fleas are also able to wait for a very long time between meals if there is no host available. For example, if you move your horse into a barn that has been empty for a very long time but formerly had a large population of barn cats, you may be moving your horse into a situation filled with hungry fleas.

In that case, your horse might have a brief and enthusiastic infestation of cat fleas. You might, too, for that matter. This is a situation that would burn out on its own and amount to nothing.

If you are on a trail ride and happen to ride through an area that has heavy flea infestation for some reason, your horse may pick up some fleas. Again, if your horse is healthy this is unlikely to be a serious problem.

To deal with this sort of temporary swarming, you could bathe your horse with Dawn dish soap and/or spray thoroughly with your usual fly products. If your barn or property seem to be infested with fleas, talk with your county agent to choose an appropriate product to eradicate them.

What Can You Do To Prevent Fleas On Horses?

what can you do to prevent fleas on horses

All of the things that you do to prevent flies on horses will prevent fleas on horses. Be sure to keep your horse healthy by feeding a balanced and wholesome diet. Add supplements to boost your horse’s immune system and to act as natural fly repellents.

Groom your horse every day and apply fly spray as needed. The common fly repellents found in standard equine fly products will also repel fleas.

Keep other animals on your property free of fleas. Be sure that your dogs and cats take an appropriate flea repellent oral supplement on a regular basis. Use flea sprays, powders, collars and the like as needed to prevent flea infestation on animals who live around your horse.

So Fleas Aren’t Really A Problem For Horses?

For the most part, you should never see fleas on your horse. This is a very unusual circumstance, but as noted, it’s not entirely impossible. If you keep a clean barn and surrounding property, keep your horse healthy and take care of all companion animals correctly, you should not have a problem with fleas on horses.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Horses & Foals since 2017. Horses have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.


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