Horse Owners Being Urged to Prepare for Mosquito-Borne Diseases
With summertime approaching, mosquitoes will be coming out more. That's why horse owners are being urged to vaccinate their animals for both Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
"While many horses have been tested throughout the state, we have not found any animals that are positive for either disease," says Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain. "However, recent tests by the Louisiana Office of Public Health have indicated that a mosquito pool has tested positive in West Baton Rouge Parish, so it's important for horse owners to be proactive to prevent the virus from spreading. Horses are infected the same way humans are infected -- by being bitten by infected mosquitoes -- so everyone needs to take extra precautionary measures at this time."
If a mosquito bites an infected bird, EEE or WNV can be spread to horses, dogs, cats and humans. These mosquito-transmitted diseases can cause inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord.
To cut down on the mosquito population, it's recommended you remove standing water from around your home -- and use repellants that are safe for horses and humans. Horses can also be vaccinated. So far, there is no vaccination approved for people.