red bugs/ chiggers

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red bugs/ chiggers

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:18 pm

Dear Dr. Pike. This time of year my trail riding buddies and I always have to battle the red bugs. Up north we call them "chiggers". The poor horses suffer from seeping, horribly itchy bites that cover their pastern area. We had been using a spray repellant that contains Deet (that worked beautifully), but then when I came across an article warning against using Deet on horses, we stopped and now are plagued by the bites again. Up north, we used to dust ourselves with sulphur. We stank, but we never had the chigger bites. Would it be safe to dust the horse's legs with sulphur as well? What would you suggest?



Leigh and Blue Gold's Trigger, Georgia
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Re: red bugs/ chiggers

Post by Dr. Daniel Pike on Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:23 pm

To answer your question, Suplhur powder would be fine, as it is not toxic to horses. The only downside is the repulsive odor. I may suggest mixing the sulphur powder with a small amount of mineral oil and applying it that way...this may allow it to stay in contact with the skin longer as the horse sweats and goes through water, etc. Zinc oxide or Desitin also works well, although it doesn't repel the chiggers, but it will protect the skin. I think you are on the right track...Good Luck!!

DP

from the editor: What about the Deet?

From Dr. Pike: Deet can cause neurolgic disease at toxic levels in horses. The "toxic" level is debatable. This is a relatively low risk, but it is possible to reach toxic levels. The toxicity results from ingestion, not from the topical application itself.
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Chiggers

Post by Rockinghorserun on Mon May 03, 2010 12:30 am

We have chiggers all summer where we ride. I use Repel from Walmart on my horses legs (Sporting goods) when I saddle up and then we sponge their legs down good with creolin and water (Southern States). This kills the chiggers and ticks too. The Creolin is sold as a kennel disinfectant. I have been using the Deet products on my horses for over 23 years and haven't had any issues. I don't use it everyday and from what I have read phyrethins are a bigger problem with horse health anyway.

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Re: red bugs/ chiggers

Post by Dr. Daniel Pike on Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:37 pm

I think everything in moderation is a good motto to follow when dealing with pesticides and horses. I think you are on the right track!!
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