Which types of lice can affect horses?
Lice on horses; an irritating problem for the horse as well as its owner. Horses do not like the itch and therefore you see them trying all sorts of ways to get rid of the itch. Unfortunately this does not affect the lice and the horses develop chafe marks, in serious cases until they bleed. Baroque horses are more affected by lice than any others. This has a very simple explanation: they have a longer coat in which the lice like to hide. There are two different sorts of lice which can affect horses; the sucking louse ‘Haematopinus asini’ and the biting louse ‘Werneckiella equi’. In addition, horses can also be affected by the leg scabies mite.
The bloodsucking louse of horses (Haematopinus asini)
The sucking louse on horses can be recognised by the larger body of the louse that is larger than his head. This sucking louse feeds himself on horses’ blood and feeds mainly on the horses’ tail and mane.
The biting louse of horses (Werneckiella equi)
The biting louse is the more active of the two. These lice are much more active and move more through the horses’ coats. You can recognise these lice because their heads are larger than their bodies. They live mainly at the ribs, neck, withers and breast. They can live up to 4 to 5 weeks once they get onto the horse. They cannot eat in the stable or paddock, so if they fail to get onto a horse, they will starve to death within a few days.
Mites of horses (leg scabies mite)
When a horse is affected by mites, you often see the horse stamping its legs or biting its socks. Mites live mainly on horses’ socks with much hair, especially in baroque horses. These mites are also called leg scabies mite.