Fire ant bites

Veterinary advice should be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.

Fire Ant Bites

Horses can sometimes accidentally step on, roll over on, or stand too close to mounds constructed by fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) while turnout out in pastures. When fire ant hills are disturbed, the ants rapidly respond by attacking the cause of the disturbance with painful bites and stings. A fire ant delivers a very painful simultaneous bite and sting composed of piperidine alkaloids.

Symptoms

Acute swelliing
Hives or lesions
Intense pruritus (itching)

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam

Treatment


TreatmentDetails
Removal of any ants that may remain on the horse by mechanical removal or hosing off with water
Corticosteroids
NSAIDs
Antihistamines

Prevention

  • If living in areas where fire ants are present, routinely surveying pastures for fire ant mounds and eliminating or fencing off horses' access to them.

Scientific Research References

Good Overviews

  • fire ant icon
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Risk Factors

  • Large number of fire ant hills present in horse pastures

Seasonality

WinterSpringSummerAutumn