Ants and Horses = Bad Combination

OMG ya’ll. I have never had a horse get eaten up by ants as bad as Te did a few weeks ago. It was awful! If you follow me on Instagram (northcarolinacowgirl) you probably saw the video I posted of Te’s leg. It’s now been a few weeks and it has finally healed up so nicely, so I wanted to share what I did with you.

Let me first explain to you what I saw and what I think happened. Unfortunately, red ants love NC and so we have quite a few ant piles in the pasture. I’ve tried numerous times to kill them but I think they tell their friends to come inhabit my pastures because more always show up. I’m guessing Te, my paint horse gelding, must have been grazing close to a pile and was likely being eat up by flies so he went down to roll. Sadly, he must have laid down right on an ant pile because only one of his front legs was covered in bites and one entire side of his body.


When I went to bring him in from the pasture, I noticed tons of welps on his body and a majorly swollen leg. Right away I knew it had to be ants. So I quickly got all the horses put up and then took Te to the wash area and hosed his leg and body off for 20-30 minutes. I also bathed -aka scrubbed-this leg off with Ovus paste (this is my go to shampoo). Once I was done hosing and washing him, I put him up in the stall and gave him 2 grams of bute and lathered his leg in Vetrycin.

Then I put a call into the Vet because of how swollen his leg was, I wasn’t sure what I should be doing to keep it from getting worse and start the healing process. Good News was, I already had started to do what the vet recommended. He said, “Cold hose for 20 mins each day, Bute twice a day and benedryl if he shows signs of itching and topical ointment to prevent infection.”

So I did as the vet directed for a week. During the week, the swelling had gone down some but the welps had turned into open sores which were pussy and bloody. So I kept hosing and applying Vetrycin. After 5 or 6 days, I stopped giving but because I didn’t think Te still needed it. He didn’t seem in pain and I never had to give benedryl.

ant bites on horse leg

This was a few days after it happened.

ant bites on horse

This was a few days after it happened.

Horse ant bites

It ended up taking 2 full weeks for all the swelling to go away and the leg to completely heal. He still has hair missing from where the sore spots were but I don’t think there will be any scaring. Thankfully.


So Tell Me..

Has your horse ever gotten into Fire Ants? What did you do?

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