Horse Health: Bots, Botfly

horse botfly

The equine botfly uses the horse as an intermediate host for its own reproduction. The botfly lays its eggs during late summer and early fall. They prefer the insides of the front legs, cannon bone, knees, throat and nose of the horse where the animal will rub its nose and mouth to transfer the eggs to the intestines. Larvae attach themselves to the stomach lining or the small intestine where they grow, causing irritation and even ulcerations at the site of their attachment.

Larvae remain in the intestines  for 10-12 months before they are passed out of the body in the horse’s manure. 1-2 months later, adult bot flies emerge from larvae and the cycle will repeat.

To prevent the eggs from getting started, they must be literally scraped from the horse’s hair.  This is sometimes difficult as the eggs are usually located on areas next to bone and tendons. They must be removed with a sharp knife (even a razor blade) or sandpaper.

Botfly eggs look like tiny white or yellowish drops of paint (about the size of a pin head) speckled on the horse’s hair.

Please note that this advice is neither veterinary nor prescriptive in nature but offered only as an introduction to this topic.

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