There are some easy steps you can take to prevent mosquitos from affecting your horses.

Mosquito season has officially arrived in Louisiana and along with them two potentially fatal diseases. West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) are prevalent in Louisiana and can cause death in horses.

So far five horses have died from EEE across Louisiana, the majority of which could have been prevented with vaccination. West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) are both viral diseases that can cause encephalitis and meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord or their protective covering). While each disease is caused by a different specific virus, they are both transmitted to horses by being bitten by an infected mosquito.

There are vaccines currently available to help prevent West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis. A minimum of a yearly booster is required, while horses that are stressed, travel frequently due to show schedules, or live in warm, humid climates such as Louisiana, should be vaccinated twice a year. Vaccinating your horses against mosquito borne viruses is an inexpensive way to help reduce the possibility of infection. However, vaccination alone is not 100-percent effective.

There are some easy steps you can take to prevent mosquitos from affecting your horses:

Avoidance--House horses indoors during peak periods of mosquito activity if possible (dusk & dawn). Reduce use of lighting during peak periods of activity. Use fans to help keep mosquitos off horses while they are stabled. Use chemical repellents specifically designed for use on horses.

Reduction--Eliminate areas of standing water on your property. For example, tires, manure storage areas, drainage areas with stagnant water, wheel barrows, pots, and shallow ponds. Clean out livestock water troughs weekly or add a supply of mosquito fish which will feed on mosquito larvae. Clean out storm drains and gutters in areas where horses are kept.

For more information on these viruses you can contact Steve Borel at either 336-2416 or 687-5155.