Horses are a popular host for ticks, increasing the risk for farriers coming into contact with them. While many tick-borne diseases are treatable, some can result in lifelong medical problems, and if left untreated, death. Image: panyawat

Strategies for Preventing Tick-Borne Diseases

Farriers are at greater risk for bites since horses are popular hosts

Ticks might feel like a modern annoyance — especially given that Lyme disease was only recognized about 40 years ago — but these parasites have existed since prehistoric times. In 2017, scientists reported finding ticks entombed in amber pieces from Myanmar dating back 99 million years.1

About 850 tick species exist worldwide. Luckily, fewer than 60 are confirmed to bite humans and transmit disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. Depending on the geographic region, peak tick season typically falls between mid-March and May, and again from mid-August through November. However, as tick populations swell, their bites and potential for transmitting disease have increased.

“Some of the suspected causes (for population increases) are climate change, habitat encroachment, transport of cattle and pets, etc.,” says Phurchhoki Sherpa, coordinator for the Purdue Public Health Medical Entomology Program. “The natural world is complicated; multiple variables are intertwined, and it is difficult to parse through and identify specific individual factors.”

Farrier Takeaways

  • Check yourself for ticks at the end of each workday. Finding and removing ticks early can help limit the potential for a serious infection.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved repellents that provide a line of defense against ticks.
  • Note a tick bite on your calendar or in your phone so that if symptoms appear you can share this information with your doctor.

People might unknowingly transport the hitchhiking pests on pets and cattle from tick-endemic areas to new places. For example, the Asian Longhorned Tick that’s native to East Asia appeared…

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Katie navarra

Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer who draws from her experiences owning and showing horses, and inter­viewing the industry’s leading pro­fessionals.

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