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In addition to warmer temperatures and longer days, summer also brings the onset of mosquito season and an increased chance of your horse being exposed to West Nile virus. In severe cases, West Nile virus can be fatal to both horses and humans by causing swelling of the brain. Once infected, horses may present a wide range of clinical signs, including fever, depression, muscle tremors, weakness, lack of coordination and paralysis. Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your horse may be affected by this virus. Currently, there is no specific treatment for the disease. Affected horses are treated based on the current symptoms with emphasis on reducing the severity of the disease.
One way to prevent the spread of the virus is by eliminating the source of its transmission. Horse owners can reduce the mosquito population by applying these pest control practice:
- Keep horses stabled during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Air circulation from fans may deter mosquitoes.
- Avoid turning on lights inside the stable during the evening and overnight. If you must leave a light on use fluorescent lights instead since mosquitoes are attracted to incandescent bulbs.
- Do not allow birds to live in or near the stables.
- Do not allow water to stagnate in puddles, bird baths, wading pools, wheelbarrows, ornamental pools, water gardens, and swimming pools and their covers.
It is impossible to completely eradicate the population of mosquitoes near your stable. And you have no control over the mosquito population when you are trail riding or travelling. CentauraTM is the first and only insect repellent for both horse and rider that is registered in the United States by the EPA, and the only one with Picaridin as the active ingredient. Picaridin, the active ingredient in CentauraTM, has been tested and recommended by several authorities as safe, effective and the preferred alternative to DEET. It is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), as the repellent of choice to protect against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and is on the list of products considered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to be effective against the transmission of West Nile Virus. Unlike other insect repellents on the market containing DEET, CentauraTM insect repellent will not damage saddles or bridles, nor will it damage plastic or other synthetic materials.
Awareness, prevention and protection certainly can go a long way toward reducing the likelihood of getting infected with West Nile virus. StateLineTack.com has many pest control products that can help your fight against mosquitoes and other insects.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational use only. Please refer to a veterinarian for any questions or concerns you may have about West Nile virus.