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Why Don’t Horses Get Fleas? What about Ticks, Lice, or Mites?

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Horses, like most mammals, are almost entirely covered in hair, but unlike other animals, horses rarely get fleas. This oddity made me wonder why don’t horses get fleas?

Horses don’t often get fleas because these parasites typically attack animals that live in nest, tunnels, caves, or den. In simple words, fleas attack animals that spend their downtime lying in bedding. Horses don’t provide the best environment for these pests to survive.  

Some of the horse owners don’t believe horses ever get fleas, but that’s incorrect. It’s rare, but horses can get fleas. A good bath with flea shampoo can help remedy the problem.

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Horses can get fleas.

We always keep cats in our horse barns to keep the mice under control; it’s practical and effective; however, cats also bring fleas in the barn. To reduce the infestation of pests, the barn is routinely sprayed for pests, But on occasion, we find fleas on our horses.

picture of a horses leaning on a fence, fleas, horses, mites, insects,

Horses ridden in pastures with high grass have a propensity to pick up fleas, this is why it’s essential to groom your horse after a ride. But most of the time, when fleas attach to a horse, they quickly jump off to find a more suitable furry four-legged host. 

Fleas are tiny creatures that are hard to see but pack a big bite. Because they are parasites, they prey on hosts, and their best hosts are cats, dogs, foxes, or any other four-legged furry animal.

When horses are infected with fleas, they develop patches of raw skin. The irritation and itching on a horse are so intense they rub their bodies against posts, trees, or anything else they can to provide relief. This action scrapes the hair off the horse’s coat and exposes their damaged skin.

Horses are among the most alluring pets anyone can have, but usually, people are unaware of how to take care of their health properly. If they are cleaned and treated correctly, there is less chance that your horse will get fleas. 

Are fleas species-specific?

picture of a flea and cat, horses, fleas,

Fleas are species-specific, but they can and do transfer host. Cat fleas are different than dog fleas, but either will bite a human or a horse. It is scarce that a horse may get fleas from other animals like cats, or chicken. But sometimes exceptions may occur.

The fleas can travel on the back of the horse but never reside on them because they don’t use horses as a host. If you have a lot of different animals like cats, dogs, chickens, and horses housed near each other, there is a high likelihood your horse will get fleas from them.

Also, the chances of getting fleas from other animals depend upon the health condition of your horse. If you take proper care of your horse hygiene, clean it regularly, then there is less or no chance that your horse will get fleas from other animals.

But if you don’t take good care of your horse, he will get fleas. Unhealthy and unkempt horses are more susceptible to get fleas than healthy, well-groomed animals.

If somehow your horse gets fleas and you want to get rid of them, the best thing you can do is wash your horse with flea shampoo. Amazon offers a few different brands, and I haven’t found that one is more effective than the others, they all work well.

The most important consideration is to wash your horse thoroughly, work in the shampoo over the horse’s entire coat, paying particular attention to the area you noticed the fleas, and also work the shampoo into the horse’s mane, and tail.

Follow the directions on the bottle and rinse the soap and then brush your horse and comb out its forelock, mane, and tail to remove the fleas.

Can a horse get mites, lice, or ticks?

Since horses are hairy animals and usually go in fields and wander around, the chances are very high that they may get some external parasites like mites, lice, or ticks. 

picture of a tick, fleas, mites, horses

All these parasites are bloodsuckers so they can create serious health problems like anemia and many other diseases. Ticks, in particular, are known transmitters of equine piroplasmosis, an infectious, tick‐borne blood disease that affects equines worldwide.

All these parasites are bloodsuckers so they can create serious health problems like anemia and many other diseases. Ticks, in particular, are know transmitters of equine piroplasmosis, an infectious, tick‐borne blood disease that effects equines world wide.

These parasites also cause open wounds in the horse’s skin, which makes them susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. These parasites complete their life cycle on the horse, and they are more active during the colder season of the year and cause itching and inflammation on the surface of the horse’s skin.

The best way to treat your animal is to take preventive measures, but if somehow they get infected by these parasites, first remove the source from where the horses are getting it and then start treating your horse. 

Since they are parasites, they will not go away on their own, so you need to opt for some strategy to remove them from your beloved animal. The best prevention is regular grooming and combing out their mane and tail.


Horses are one of the most loyal and beloved animals. They serve you throughout their lives. And in return, they only need your love, affection, and proper care.

The best way to show your appreciation to them is to keep them clean. Wash them regularly with soap water, comb them to keep them safe against fleas, mites, lice, or ticks. 

These are small creatures but can cause severe problems for horses and can even lead to death. Although they are not the cause of acute disease, they only cause itching and inflammation. But due to itching, the skin gets susceptible and becomes the cause of several secondary bacterial infections that could be life-threatening. 

So, if you love your horse, start caring for them now, so they don’t get affected by these parasites. Because most horses spend much of their time outside, they are susceptible to being affected by small lice, fleas, and ticks, or mites. 

Horses don’t get fleas as long as you have a proper understanding of their health-related problem. If they receive adequate care, adequate diet, and vaccination, they should never get any parasites. 

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