Sitting water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that are carriers of diseases like EEE.
A Virginia horse has been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), according to Coastal Equine Veterinary Service. It is the first case of EEE in the state this year.
The veterinary clinic reports a horse, located in Chesapeake, was unvaccinated for EEE. It is unknown at this time if the horse survived, but 90% that contract the disease do not. Veterinarians urge horse owners to take precautions to help shield their horses from the deadly mosquito-borne illness.
EEE causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. The disease is also called “sleeping sickness”.
Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to ten days for signs of the disease to appear.
Mosquitoes cause three of the major diseases that affect horses: Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE), Western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE), and West Nile Virus (WNV.) Each illness is preventable with vaccines, but they must be given far enough prior to exposure to allow the horse to develop immunity, according to vets.
Mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts for more than four days. Prevention includes vaccination, getting rid of any standing water, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas.
Here are a few more tips to help ensure your horse doesn’t end up a statistic. (click links for easy shopping and enjoy free shipping on many)
– Mosquito Dunks can be added to troughs or other areas where water can’t be eliminated. They kill mosquitoes and are safe for your animals.
– Cover horses with fly sheets and fly masks (should not be left on for more than 12 hours at a time.)
– Use insect repellent.
– Barn fly sprays systems help keep pests away and off your horses, especially at peak times of the day.
– Use fans in the barn to help keep the mosquitoes off your horses.
For more information or if your horse presents with these symptoms, contact your local veterinarian immediately.