One element of having a happy, healthy horse
With summer rapidly approaching, it’s no wonder many Floridians are starting to feel a little itchy. The rainy season brings talk of mosquitos and diseases and precautions to take – particularly after last year’s Zika scare.
There is one segment of the population, though, which has known about mosquitos and their dangers long before the rest of us had even heard of Zika. Horse owners – and their horses – have been a prime target for mosquitos for years.
Florida has a climate for mosquitoes
The presence of mosquito-borne viruses in horse country can almost be considered a perfect storm, particularly in Florida. Generally speaking, stables are often located in rural or semi-rural environments. The combination of warm temperatures and rain creates many opportunities for standing water, an open invitation for mosquitos to live and breed.
Sharing the same space are songbirds, which can carry viruses that can be passed to female mosquitoes when feeding. At the same time, horses not only give off tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide, they also sweat and have lots of warm blood pumping just below the surface after exercising. They’re huge targets for very small insects.
Placing humans in the same location is an added bonus for mosquitos. While people can take preventative measures and swat and smack, horses aren’t so lucky. Yes, they can whip their tail or shake their mane, but, as we all know, mosquitos are persistent.
Mosquito-borne viruses that pose the greatest risk
While people working and playing around horses can become infected with Zika, there is, at the moment, no evidence to suggest horses can become infected.
Nevertheless, horses are at risk of other mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis. There are vaccinations available to protect horses from these threats.
The best prevention is to practice smart stabling
While vaccinations can prevent disease, they do nothing to stop the onslaught of bites. There are other steps horse owners can take to protect their horses and to reduce mosquito populations.
- First and foremost, it’s important to look for areas of standing/stagnant water and to rectify those situations. That means turning over or removing objects that collect unwanted water, keeping vegetation trimmed in drainage ditches and canals, and regularly cleaning drinking troughs and providing fresh water.
- Remove damp and/or overgrown vegetation around stable areas.
- Avoid nighttime pasture turnouts, since most mosquito species tend to be very active at night.
- Investigate using equine-safe mosquito repellents and other preventative accessories, such as face masks and ear covers.
An addition to your mosquito-management arsenal
It’s important for horse owners and others who maintain animal quarters to limit mosquito access to their investments and/or pets. In addition to the suggestions listed above, Platinum Mosquito Protection offers an equine misting system using products from Pyranha, Inc., the equine industry’s leader in insect control.
Once installed, our team will manage your automatic misting system to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. You and your animals deserve to safely enjoy the outdoors.
For a free onsite consultation, contact us today!