Archive for February, 2013

Pests That Can Invade a Barn and How to Avoid Them

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Pests and insects in a barn can not only be frustrating, but also very hazardous for your horses health and well being. Proper sanitation and maintaining cleanliness is the main consideration that you should have in mind in order to minimize the breeding of these pests and ensure a clean and healthy environment for your horses.

Read through the following list to learn about the common pests that can invade your barn, and the safety measures that you can take to avoid them:

Stable Flies

Stable Flies

Stable flies breed in fermenting matter, manure, moisture, and decaying straw inside of the barn. They are vicious biters, and mostly bite the legs of the horse. Stable flies can cause blood loss, swamp fever, and summer sores in horses. Their bites often result in wounds that prove to be difficult to heal. Cleanliness is the main key to eradicate the problem of stable flies in the barn, and the occasional spraying of insecticides, preferably natural or organic, also help a great deal in this regard.

Biting Gnats and Buffalo Gnats

Gnats, with their small size are often very hard to pick, but they are the most painful and dangerous pests to attack horses. They suck on their blood and their painful bite can cause wounds and impending pain to the horse. You can use insecticides to avoid the occurrence of gnats, and direct application of pesticides to the horses’ bodies through sprays or wipes is also helpful.

Horse Flies and Deer Flies

Horse flies and deer flies are another species of biting flies that result in painful wounds and blood loss in horses. Horses tend to get restless and irritated after the bite, and as the flies continue to suck on the wound, infections may also occur which make the horse lose weight, become weak and face fatigue in the long run. Insecticides and fly repellents can be used on the horses bodies’ to keep these pests away. Also, regularly clean the barns and stalls, and keep an eye out for their eggs in order to reduce the breeding of these pests in the first place.

House Flies and Face Flies

House flies are common carriers of germs and bacteria that can cause contagious diseases to spread and result in infections amongst horses. House flies are most commonly attracted towards dirt and rotting manure, so cleanliness is key to keep these pests away from your barn.

Face flies and house flies are classified under the category of nuisance flies- they don’t bite or directly harm the horses, but are carriers of bacteria and also make the horse restless and irritated by buzzing near their eyelids or any open wounds. House flies breed in fresh and rotting manure.

Common Diseases in Horses and How to Prevent Them

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Caring for your horses requires a thorough knowledge of how to prevent any disease and ailment , as well as keeping their health and wellness in check at all times. The following list will help you in getting information about the most common diseases that affect horses and what measures can you take to avoid them in the first place. Remember, if left ignored, some of these diseases can be fatal.

Continue reading to find out how you can ensure a safe and healthy environment for your horses.


Lockjaw, or tetanus, is a bacterial disease that enters the horses body through an open wound. If left untreated, it causes the horse to get spasms in muscles, followed by flared nostrils, stiffness, and contracted jaws that make the horse unable to open his mouth. In the final stages of the disease, the horse can die of respiratory paralysis. Treatment of tetanus involves wide opening and thorough cleaning of the wound to remove all signs of infection. After that, penicillin is injected into the wound to treat the virus.

In order to avoid the condition, make sure that you tend to all wounds or scratches on your horses body as soon as possible to keep them free from bacteria. Tetanus shots and vaccinations are also a must for newborn foals.

Sleeping Sickness

This condition is characterized by three diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes- Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. They affect the nervous system of the horses and are extremely dangerous. Early symptoms of this condition include a high fever, lack of coordination, lethargy, and staggering. In the final stages, the horses develops seizures and paralysis, which can result in an untimely death.

Basic measures to avoid this disease include keeping your horses in a clean environment and conducting proper and regular vaccinations.

Equine Influenza

Equine Influenza is a respiratory condition that involves fever, dry cough, watery nasal discharge, irritation, weakness, depression, and a lack of appetite. It spreads by inhaling infectious material and can progress on to more critical conditions like bronchitis or pneumonia if left untreated.

If you notice the symptoms of Equine Influenza in any of the horses, keep them away from the rest of the herd and provide them with ample rest and medication to treat the fever and stiffness.


Scientifically termed as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it is a condition that is similar to asthma in humans. Symptoms include coughing, loss of weight, lethargy and weakness, and mostly effects horses that are stalled in winter.

To avoid this condition, horses should be kept in barns that are free from dust and mold. Avoid exposure to extreme cold temperatures for long amounts of time, and make sure that the barn does not contain moldy hay. Replace shavings and straw in stalls with rubber mats.


Strangles is a dangerous and extremely contagious condition that usually affects young horses and foals. It causes the lymph nodes in the throats to swell in size which gives rise to difficulty in breathing. Other symptoms include poor appetite, weakness, and high fever.

Vaccination is the main preventive measure that you can take in order to avoid strangles.

Saving Lives – Major Horse Rescues in the U.S.

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Horses are loving companions that have been used for centuries for travel, to plow fields, and even for war. Over the years, they have been neglected and abused by people because of a lack of time to take care of them, or an unawareness on how to properly care for this magnificent creature. Many equine welfare organizations have been established to protect horses from neglect and provide them with new homes where they can be loved and cared for.

Below are a few major horse rescue organizations in the United States that have taken significant measures to protect these animals.

  • National Equine Resource Network (NERN)

National Equine Resource Network was founded from Shirley Puga’s passion for animal welfare. Having volunteered for three years at a rescue facility in Southern California and later on for several years with equine welfare organizations saving more than 800 horses, Shirley created NERN to make a big impact on equine welfare. It provides comprehensive support to other horse welfare organizations to save the struggling industry. NERN has initiated the low cost gelding clinic program throughout California to help economically challenged horse owners castrate their colts and stallions to decrease equine breeding. They are currently planning expansions into Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Texas, and Nevada

  • United States Equine Rescue League, Inc. (USERL)

United States Equine Rescue League is equine welfare organizations that operates in North Carolina, Virginia, and Iowa and is soon planning to begin operations in Kentucky, Indiana, and Colorado. USERL works for the protection of and rehabilitation of equines. They have taken steps to rescue abused and neglected horses and provide them with a loving home. They also aim to educate horse-owners and the public about proper equine care. Since 1997, USERL saves an average of 200 equines per year with the help of its volunteers.

  • Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

The Humane Society of the United States is the country’s largest animal protection organization. It’s Equine Protection Department works to end the cruelty and safeguards the welfare of horses, burros, and donkeys. The HSUS actively supports the new policies by the Bureau of Land Management to ensure the humane treatment of animals. It is also planning to form a Responsible Horse Breeders Council composed of horse breeders around the country to promote responsible horse ownership and nationwide horse rescue efforts.

  • Saddlebred Rescue (SBR)

A different kind of rescue, Saddlebred Rescue understands the plight of unwanted horses; it purchases horses that are put up for auction and sales for slaughter. With the help of professional and caring horse trainers, these horses are then cared for and later put up for adoption through American Horse Adoption. Up until today, SBR has successfully managed to find homes for 600 horses through an effective adoption process with high success rates. The facility has a four stall wood barns and green pastures for the quick recovery of the horses.

Please take the next step and donate either your time or money to one of these amazing organizations.