Fly Control for Horses

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Fly Control for Your Horses

 If you have ever walked into a barn or been around horses, you know one thing to be true: flies love your horse just as much as you do. Flies are everywhere horses are, whether it’s in the barn, out in the pasture, or in the trailer. Fly control is very important as flies can irritate your horse’s skin, introduce skin infections, and carry diseases, such as anemia, conjuntivitis, and anthrax. Follow these tips from the horse vets at Carolina Equine Hospital to help protect your horse from flies.

Keep It Clean—A clean, dry stall is not as appealing to a fly as an un-mucked, wet one. Make sure to keep your horse’s home nice and dry. Manure is a tasty snack for these flying pests, and warm, moist environments like an un-mucked stall make the perfect place to lay eggs. Cleaning out a stall and making sure to replace shavings often can make all the difference in your barn!

Keep It Covered—Make sure that all garbage cans and food bins are covered. Flies are always on the lookout for their next meal, and cutting off access to their food will make them go elsewhere. You can also reduce flies by keeping any manure piles covered, either putting manure in a bin or using a large tarp to cover up the pile.

Keep It Moving—Try fitting your steed’s stall with a fan. Not only does it make the temperature more bearable for them, it keep flies from landing on them. The circulation from the fan will keep the air moving and help the horse breathe better as well!

Keep It Dry—Make sure that there is no standing water in or around the barn area. Standing water is an invitation for flies as well as mosquitoes. If possible, use an electric water bucket that refills on its own, causing the water to move around. Make sure all drains are working properly with no backing up. If any shavings become wet due to water spillage or urination, replace them as often as possible to discourage flies.

Keep It Fashionable—Once you have conquered your fly problem in the barn, it’s time to take it outside. Horses usually like to spend their days in turnout, but when they’re beyond the barn doors you have less power against flies. Fly accessories like masks and fly sheets can help protect your horse while they enjoy some outside time.

Since many flies go for the eyes and the liquid they produce, a fly mask is a wise choice. They are put over the face and usually include a slot for the ear to be put through, then Velcro-ed under the jaw. A nicely fitted mask will stay on all day. Fly sheets protect the horse’s torso from the bites of hungry flies. If a mask or sheet is not available, topical fly spray is something everyone should keep in their tack room. The horse does not need to be drenched, but a few good sprays on the commonly bitten areas will work wonders for your horse.


Need Equine Veterinary Care?

If you think your horse has developed an infection or illness from fly bites, set up an appointment with our experienced veterinary team at Carolina Equine Hospital. We offer care and treatment for all types of equine illnesses, as well as preventive and reproductive care for horses. Contact us with our easy online form, by email at, or by phone at 336-349-4080.