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EQUUS - - Equus -

• "ani sh bot eggs • Pain con­trol op­tions •Sim­ple brush clean­ing •Fall la mini tis alert

As you groom your horse at this time of year, keep a sharp eye out for bot eggs. Yel­low, sticky and shaped like tiny grains of rice, these eggs are de­posited on a horse’s body by bot­flies, usu­ally on the forelegs, chest and belly. These lo­ca­tions are strate­gi­cally cho­sen by the in­sects be­cause the life cy­cle of the par­a­site re­quires that the eggs be licked by the horse and taken into his mouth. Once the eggs hatch, the lar­vae bur­row into fis­sures of the tongue and gums. Af­ter they ma­ture, they emerge from the tis­sues to be swal­lowed, so they can at­tach them­selves to the lin­ing of the stom­ach. Sev­eral months later, the lar­vae break free from the stom­ach wall and pass out with the horse’s ma­nure. There they de­velop into adult flies, start­ing the cy­cle again. A dose of iver­mectin in De­cem­ber will kill the lar­vae in­side the stom­ach, in­ter­rupt­ing the life cy­cle, but that doesn’t spare your horse the itchy ir­ri­ta­tion of hav­ing lar­vae bur­row into the tis­sues of his mouth. Re­mov­ing the eggs as soon as you no­tice them on your horse will, how­ever. Bot eggs aren’t dif­fi­cult to re­move. You can scrape them off eas­ily with a spe­cial­ized tool, aptly called a “bot knife,” that has a dull, ser­rated edge or with a fiber­glass groom­ing block. In a pinch, you can even pull them off with a strip of duct tape. You’ll need to re­move eggs at least ev­ery other day, but the egg-lay­ing sea­son lasts for only two or three weeks. Such vig­i­lance will dra­mat­i­cally re­duce the risk of bot lar­vae liv­ing in­side your horse’s di­ges­tive tract later this year.

The life cy­cle of the bot­fly re­quires that its eggs be licked by a horse and in­gested. BOT KNIFE GROOM­ING BLOCK

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