Operation Fly

My barn had a steady outbreak of pigeon fever last year and I want to get ahead of the game this year. I would like recommendations on all things fly and pigeon fever if you have experience. This includes, but is not limited to fly spray, fly feed supplements, masks, whatever. What are the most important/key products to have on hand in a kit if my horse comes down with PF? I’ve already started a thread on fly sheets.

Note, I am a boarder, not the barn owner. I believe they have these fly predator products.

Several horses got PF and one horse was PTS for the internal version, so it’s serious business. I really like my barn. I could move, but it’s also generally prevalent in my area. My barn is also conscientious, but there are also a lot of new boarders.


I thought Pigeon fever was Strangles related ( maybe I am wrong??) so maybe keeping your horse vaccinated against Strangles is your best bet . Flies are something you can not eliminate but masks and sprays used daily keep everyone comfortable.

Pigeon fever and strangles are different. They can both cause internal abscess, which are Bad News.

@frisky in your case, I’d plan on fly sheets, masks, boots. And the spot on fly treatments, equispot or freedom 45. And daily fly spray.

If you owned your barn, the feed through fly supplements would be worth a shot, but they only work if all the horses at the barn are on them, and there is not a nearby source of flies (like an untreated barn next door, or a cattle operation.)

A few of us have had good results spraying mosquito dunk tea around or using them in water tubs, but again…if you’re a boarder, that’s a tough sell.

The stuff in Solitude IGR (one of the feed throughs) is also available as something to mix with water and spray where flies breed, which is mucho cheaper than feeding it to a bunch of horses, but again tough if it’s not your place.

Oh, something that I’ve noticed that has made my fly predators HUGELY more effective is to not spray fly spray in the stalls. Those little guys are sensitive to the fly spray, so don’t poison the stuff that goes into the pile. If you can get the barn and boarders as a whole taking care of the predators, that could make a big difference!


My barn uses fly predators - I have no idea how well they work. The flies seem to bloom in cycles around here.

The trainer had his horses on the feed through fly supplements but said DO NOT use molasses -based feed through. He said his horses spread molasses on everything they put their nose on.

I use a fly mask and Shoo fly leggings. I and others swear they stay on better than contoured fly boots. It’s too hot around here for a fly sheet (although I have one) so I use cypermethrin spray.

Ugghh, flies.

There is a vaccine now for pigeon fever. Maybe check with your vet? I had a horse vaccinated last year so know vaccine was available and recommended, but don’t know history/side effects/efficacy.

Also, be careful with any little abrasions/sores/anything oozing or weeping e.g. on legs–flies will be attracted there.

It must be really new, do you have a link for one?

2015, apparently. I hadn’t heard about it, either.


There’s also a very available goat vaccine that some vets might use off label?


Thanks, I asked my vet a few months ago and he either didn’t know or recommend a vaccine. I will need to ask about reactions as both my horses are rather sensitive. One is old and the other tends towards laminitis. Might be a good idea. I really don’t like this pigeon fever.