Katie Hennessy

Mosquito-Borne Diseases a Real Threat to Horses

The rainy weather we are currently receiving in Florida is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, so it’s time to be on guard for some nasty viruses these insects can spread to both horses and humans. These viruses are spread through the mosquito’s bite. The most common viruses found in Florida include West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

There are no specific treatments for these viral diseases. Prevention is the best course of action. Luckily for horses, we have vaccines that provide protection against these diseases. Along with vaccination, minimizing exposure is the best plan. Mosquito repellent and keeping your horse indoors with fans at dawn and dusk will help reduce the number of bites your horse receives.

Eliminating mosquito breeding grounds is important. Drain any standing water from buckets, bins, or other items that might collect water. Weekly cleaning of water troughs is essential to prevent mosquito larvae from developing. Appropriate chlorination of swimming pools and stocking large water tanks with fish that consume their larvae will help with protecting your horse.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus are all reportable diseases in the state of Florida. Prevention is the best plan. Work with your veterinarian to make sure your horses are up to date on their mosquito vaccinations and then do your part at home to prevent mosquitoes from developing.

This column is sponsored by Polk Equine, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.
BIO: Dr. Katie Hennessy graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 with a degree in large animal health and equine medicine. She completed an advanced internship at The Equine Medical Center of Ocala and is currently the owner and practicing veterinarian at Polk Equine. Her expertise ranges from small and exotic creatures to large animals, specializing in equine medicine.

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