Fly bites in ears (causing potentially dangerous situations)???

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by IrishMelody IrishMelody 1 year, 11 months ago.

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  • neiner Original Poster neiner
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 8

    Help! My horse’s ears (the insides) are getting DESTROYED by flies. It started out being just a few bites, and I could tell he was uncomfortable when I messed with his ears, but I was reluctant to apply anything to the insides of his ears. I have been routinely applying fly spray (with my hands) and SWAT to the outsides and the top half of his head, but that doesn’t seem to keep the flies away. He hates fly masks and manages to remove them within a few hours. Now his ears are all crusty with scabs and open wounds, and I have to put his bridle on in pieces (otherwise he absolutely loses his mind). He’s a big baby (has the lowest pain tolerance), and he hurts, so I wouldn’t mind but the other day he kicked someone who tried to catch and halter him for our farrier. I need to find some way to get his ears to 1.heal and 2.keep them protected. Thoughts?

    "Gentle in what you do; firm in how you do it." -Buck Brannaman

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Best I can think of is to ask your vet if there is something outside the normal stuff you can use for him. Is he in during the day? If so, does he have a fan? Fans help. I also spray the entire stall when I bring mine in – anything to cut down on the number of flies! We have a couple of horses who are so sensitive that they will rub off all their hair if let outside, so they are in all summer. A few of the others are in during the day, and out at night. If he has a run-in, can you hang screen flaps across the front? They are expensive to buy, but cheap to make, and all you need is a measuring implement, scissors and magnets (or some other way to attach them at the top). Instead of a fly mask (mine won’t wear them either), what about trying one of those ear net things, and leave his halter over it? My idiot won’t wear the regular fly mask, but seems to like the ear net things (thinks they are really cool hats) and the Cashel Quiet Ride mask (easier for him to see through). If you can get rid of the sores, perhaps you should use either the Swat or the one Absorbine makes (don’t recall name) on the insides – not deep, but just the area easy to see (another ask you vet thing – don’t rely on me).

    It is never the horse's fault

    drsgdiva drsgdiva
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    Hi! Sorry to hear about your horse. My mustang had the same problem. Here is what my vet told me to do. It was inexpensive, AND it worked! You may need to mildly sedate him to clean his ears. If you can, get his ears clean. Make sure all the sebum (horse ear wax) is out as best you can. A large gauze pad or a washcloth work well as they have a bit of abrasiveness to them. Once they are as clean as you can get them, put on the following mixture:

    In a small plastic bowl mix approx:
    2T Swat ointment
    1T desitin
    2T hydrocortisone OINTMENT

    Mix well and apply to affected area. It is important to use ointment as it is thicker than a cream. The mixture provides a barrier to the area. Makes it harder for gnats, mosquitoes, and fly’s to bite. The hydrocortisone will help with the itching. If you feel like you want a little more of
    one item, it’s find to customize it. Hope this helps your guy.

    neiner Original Poster neiner
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 8

    Joe-joe and drsgdiva, thanks so much for your inputs! My gelding lives outside 24/7, and doesn’t have a run-in, so fans and screens are unfortunately not an option. I did make up an ointment (per drsgdiva’s suggestion) and put it in his ears, and also cut the eyes out of a fly mask and put it on him (lots of patience and a twitch), and he’s already doing a lot better. Once he realized that I was trying to help him, not hurt him (geldings, right? Kind of stupid…), he’s been much better about me cleaning out his ears and re-applying, and he even left his “fly hat” on. I truly did not expect him to start healing this fast, so thanks!

    "Gentle in what you do; firm in how you do it." -Buck Brannaman

    IrishMelody IrishMelody
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 27

    I realize this thread is from June, but I live in NE Florida and my mare has rubbed her ears absolutely raw. It started just after I clipped them out for a show about a month ago now. Normally I never clip out ears, hair is there for a reason, but I was new in my barn and didn’t want to press the rules. I use Aloe and E baby wipes to clean in and out of ears (one wipe for each side) and luckily my girl is a saint for it. I have found MTG works best to help with the itching, but she still super rubs her ears at the base, even with her mask on. Did you find that the ointment mixture drsgdiva suggested worked well? If so, I think I’d like to give it a shot.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    So happy to hear that he is doing well. Thanks for the update.

    It is never the horse's fault

    neiner Original Poster neiner
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 8

    IrishMelody: yes, the ointment mixture absolutely worked. I expected it to take a while, and I was hesitant about putting it inside his ears, but two days after I first applied it, I could already see a huge difference. He wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable. Within a week all of his sores were closed and scabs were starting to fall off. You might also add Fura-zone to the ointment mixture.

    "Gentle in what you do; firm in how you do it." -Buck Brannaman

    IrishMelody IrishMelody
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 27

    Thanks for posting back so quick! I just jotted down the recipe, I just need to get hydrocortisone then I’ll mix it up and give it a shot. Luckily my girl is fine with me sticking my fingers in her ears, she is super unhappy I am trying to spray stuff in there right now. I’ll let you know how it works for me, that way if other SmartPakers stumble across this thread, it has even more positive advice behind it!

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