01373 830868 

Parasite control with Penn Equine Vets

Along with worms, your horse can be affected by a number of other parasites.


If you have an intensely itchy horse the first thing to look for is lice and their little white nit eggs. They target the base of the main and forelock first but can be found anywhere on the body. Lice are small insects that have to live on the host and can be seen with the naked eye. The cause intense itching resulting in hair loss and patches of crusting and scaling. Lice only tend to infect young, elderly, thick coated or immunocompromised horses and are most commonly seen in spring and autumn. Routine treatment against lice is not necessary and if found they can be readily treated with topical medications.

Deer Keds

Numbers of deer keds have dramatically increased over the last 10 years, they are large insects readily seen with the naked eye. A single deer ked can be intensely irritating to a horse which may become very restless and distressed and can appear to have colic. The ked bite will leave a swelling about 1cm across which will crust over then the crust falls off to leave a red, weepy patch. If you suspect a ked then bath your horse all over which will hopefully remove it. Deosect insect repellent will keep them at bay.

Feather mites

Mites (Chorioptes) mainly infect heavily feathered horses and target the legs causing intense itching resulting in stamping and biting at the legs. Red scabby scaly patches of skin can be found and will sometimes have yellow pus if secondary bacterial infection has occurred. Mites can live in the environment for a couple of months so re-infection is common. The treatment we find most potent to eliminate mites is doramectin injection given twice 10-14 days apart. Other treatments like washing with insecticidal or selenium sulphide shampoo, application of topical ivermectin and pig oil with sulphur help keeps mite numbers down. Clipping of the legs will help with successful application of these products.

Learn more about Penn Equine Vets’ worming advice

Contact Penn Equine Vets for more advice


Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies