Insects (Equine only)


Avoiding offending allergens should always be considered. Steps can be taken to avoid insect bites, such as fly rugs, sprays, and ointments. However, due to the airborne nature of environmental allergens, avoidance may not be possible. In these cases your vet may recommend allergy shots, or allergen-specific immunotherapy for your horse.

See the images below for information to assist with understanding types of insects that may be present in your horse’s environment…


Culicoides (Biting midges)

Culicoides is a genus of biting midges in the family Ceratopogonidae. There are over 1000 species in the genus, which is divided into many subgenera. Several species are known to be vectors of various diseases and parasites which can affect animals.



Black Fly

There are over 1,800 species of black fly (sometimes called a buffalo gnat, turkey gnat, or white socks) They gain nourishment by feeding on the blood of mammals, including humans, although the males feed mainly on nectar. They are usually small, black or gray, with short legs, and antennae. They are a common nuisance for humans, and overseas, spread several diseases, including river blindness in Africa and the Americas.



Mosquitoes are small, midge-like flies which comprise the family Culicidae. Females of most species are ectoparasites, whose tube-like mouthparts pierce the hosts’ skin to consume blood. The word “mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly”.



Horse Fly

Horse-flies are often large and agile in flight, and the females bite animals, including humans, to obtain blood. They prefer to fly in sunlight, avoiding dark and shady areas, and are inactive at night.



Stable Fly

Commonly called the stable fly, barn fly, biting house fly, dog fly, or power mower fly. it sucks blood from mammals. The stable fly resembles the common housefly, though smaller, and has a slightly wider and spotted abdomen. Unlike the housefly, where the mouth part is adapted for sponging, the stable fly mouth parts have biting structures. The stable fly is abundant in and around where cattle are kept. Its maggots are often seen in the rotting manure near cattle and poultry.


House Fly

The housefly (also house fly, house-fly or common housefly), Musca domestica, is the most common fly species found in habitations. Adult insects are grey to black with four dark longitudinal lines on the thorax, slightly hairy bodies and a single pair of membranous wings. They have red eyes, and the slightly larger female has these set further apart than the male.

Reference: Insect descriptions source: Wikipedia;

The information supplied is intended for guidance only.


Hints & Tips:

• You can use fly rugs, sprays and ointments to prevent biting insects

The cost of your test and any treatment may be covered by your pet insurance.

Please check with your vet and insurance company for details.
Give your pet the best callout