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Rats eating hooves
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vonsnorthoof
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 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 02:52 pm
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Hi Dr. Deb,

We have been having a rat problem at the barn where I board my horse. They come out at night and chew on the horses' hooves, sometimes drawing blood. The barn is located out in the country, have open and sheltered pipe corrals.

Is there a deterrent that can be used, while still being safe for the horse? I have used bell boots at night, bitter apple ointment, and peppermint extract, but the pesky critters are still at it. The management have set up traps/"poison stations," but the rats are still outsmarting the humans.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks,

VonSnortHoof

sll3454
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 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 03:40 pm
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Cats?

vonsnorthoof
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 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 03:48 pm
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No shelter will let us adopt a cat. Tons of coyotes around, so a cat would not last long. Past experiences show this.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 05:18 pm
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Snort, you're going to have to supply me a photo showing the lesions supposedly caused by rats before I will even start to believe that a rat would chew on a live horse. I suspect the problem you're having has some different cause. So show us where the blood or the chew-marks are, and we'll go from there. -- Dr. Deb

vonsnorthoof
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 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 08:04 pm
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Hi Dr.Deb,

 

I had a hard time believing it also. It was the vet who said this is somewhat common in our area and in most cases bell boots work to deter rats. I will get you a picture as soon as possible.

 

Thanks,

VonSnortHoof

Cheddar
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 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 09:05 pm
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http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-229324.html

 

Apparently it was a problem a couple years ago, too, in Southern California.  Unless it was the bats.

vonsnorthoof
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 Posted: Thu Oct 13th, 2011 09:48 pm
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Hi Cheddar,

 

Thanks for your reply.  I would never have believed this possible had I not seen this for myself. I was hoping someone one the forum had experienced this, and would have some solutions. However, solutions seem to be hard to come by. 

I do live in SoCal. The link you sent is exactly what we are dealing with. The rats go for the bulbs, where they seem to able to suck blood. There are several horses in the barn that are affected. I have also noticed teeth marks, or scuff-like markings, on the front of my horse's hooves in the mornings. When I left the bell boots on, the rats were able to get underneath and still do their work. By now this behavior is rewarded in the rats, they get what they want. I just need to find something that will leave an awful taste in their mouths, but something that would not jeopardize my horse's feet or health.

I do think we are dealing with rats, not bats. When I turn on the lights at night, I see them flee the stalls, long tails trailing behind.

I am concerned about diseases caused by this nibbling.

I will get some close up pictures for Dr. Deb.

VonSnortHoof

vonsnorthoof
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 Posted: Fri Oct 14th, 2011 04:29 am
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Hi Dr.Deb, This is a side view of my pony's right hind hoof. The darker "scars" or teeth marks, show recent chewing, while the ones below it are older. All four feet are affected.
I have not seen her bleed from these scars, but I have seen it from the bulbs of two other horses in our barn. I will try to get you a picture showing this type of "wound."

 I know it sounds crazy and illogical that horses allow rats to get to their feet and that rats even think of chewing on a live hoof. The vet said the rats like chewing till they reach blood so they get to lick/suck it,... and that the horses don't feel any pain!

I'm concerned about the health of my horse if this continues.

VonSnortHoof

sarahmorloff
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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 05:32 pm
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WOW, yes, this sounds awful... and strange, a horse can feel a fly on it in a rainstorm and shake it off, YET it would allow a RAT to chew on it's hooves until they bleed??? 

I could never imagine any healthy, alert horse allowing this... I am not suggesting that your horses aren't healthy, just that this sounds very strange...   I am imagining "secret of nymh" rats scurrying around the stall in a creepy way (sorry, I'm not poking fun, but my imagination has gotten the best of me on this one)... I am curious what DrDeb will conclude.

sarahmorloff
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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 05:40 pm
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okay, so i should have googled it before imagining such maddness :)  apparently this is not that uncommon, one forum said that they would have a person bring up their terriers and ferrets (as they are breed to burrow and catch rats?) to solve the rat issues... I guess I just would assume that the horse would stomp on it before it would get to the point of blood... do horses sleep that deeply?  I know my horses coronet band, heels and frog area are very sensitive even to flies... Can your barn bring on a couple terriers to help out?

Sorry if I sounded insensitive... it would be a frustrating problem to deal with...

vonsnorthoof
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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 05:40 pm
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Hi,

My imagination is running wild also;I see blood dripping off the rats' pointed teeth as they scurry down the aisle! However, this is unfortunately no Halloween prank. I attended a clinic this weekend, and we discussed the problem. One trainer said he used to apply vaseline with hot pepper sauce on to the coronet band. I will give this a try.

sarahmorloff
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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 06:58 pm
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won't the oils in the pepper sauce burn?  I used to put it on my stall for cribbing and it seemed to burn his lips (I no longer do this - thought it was unfair to take away his outlet for anxiety)... what about soap? or vet wrap? at least until it is resolved... the last barn I was at had mice (not too bad though) then in the last month there were all of the sudden RATS just a couple but still gross... we figured they came from a trailer that was filled with trash... cause they weren't there until that trailer was...  the dogs were a HUGE help... My current barn has a fake owl up high, a cat and a dog, don't know if it helps but there seems to be a minimal amount of rodents...

maybe some well placed traps?  I would worry about poison, seems like if there is any potentially dangerous thing, a horse will be the one to get into it :s

Good luck with the vampire bats (I vaant to suck urrr blood)... ={)

vonsnorthoof
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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 08:29 pm
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You are right about the hot pepper, that was my concern also. The trainer wasn't worried about this, as he said the worst thing it would do was to bring some circulation to the hoof!

I don't know what to do. Dogs are not allow to reside as there is no house on the property and no one to take care of it. My horse is in good health, and so are the other horses that are affected. The rats evade the traps. I am worried about the poison traps the management has set up, as I am concerned about the effect it will have on ecosystem around the barn. We have snakes, squirrels, hawks, owls, coyotes, and more small species as we back up to large open space.

I saw a baby rat at the barn today, not feeling well. I am starting to wonder if I should apply the wisdom of Alan Boone to these rodents. I just have to work on building up my nerve to sit in a dark stall whilst sending positive, admiring, and loving thoughts to the approaching, hungry critters!

sarahmorloff
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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 08:50 pm
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You are paying to use this property correct?  In my simple logic, I am assuming that the rats are there because they haven't been shown the door... I would expect that any management that was truly interested in the horses (customers) health, safety and general well being would work hard to not only "send happy thoughts" but to completely eradicate the problem and go above and beyond to prevent it in the future...

They would want to find out why the rats are there.
Where they live during the day/night.
If they are causing damage? (I consider EATING the clients horses damage).
HOW they can get rid of them in the fastest way possible to restore quality care to these animals (who's owners are paying a small fortune to even own)...

Can an exterminator be called out?  Can you guys go to the butchers and pick up some blood and raw meat (gross but might work) to put into the traps??

If it isn't resolved, do you plan on staying there?  If this were my barn I would find it unacceptable (not to mention embarrassing) to have rats, snakes, or whatever else may endanger the safety of the animals that are were put into my care... obviously there is always gonna be a "wildlife" issue, but how far will it have to go before something is done?  What are they prepared to do if an infection sets in and a horse goes lame??

Sorry, I get a little over zealous about the basics... Now I have another thing to add to my list of questions to ask barn owners... "What is your policy on rats and their eating of the horses kept here".... What funny looks that would provoke!
={D

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 10:01 pm
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My sceptical mind is having trouble believing this tale, but if it is actually a real problem you could try mixing salt, plain sodium chloride, into vaseline to smear around the coronet. Salt is an effective rodent repellent - keeps mice and rats off stored hay if plenty of salt is sprinkled over and around the bales.


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