Mosquito Control for Brevard County Horse Owners
How does the virus get into horses?
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is transmitted only when an infected mosquito bites a horse. Neither horses nor humans can get the virus from other infected horses. For additional information on EEE transmission and disease by the Center of Disease Control EEE Transmission and Disease.
What are the symptoms for horses?
Horses infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis may display one or more of the following:
- Lack of coordination and stumbling (most common symptom)
- Depression or uneasiness
- Weakness of the hind limbs
- Falling down, inability to rise
- Muscle twitching
- Grinding teeth and or droopy lower lip
- Colicky appearance
- Excessive sweating
- Disorientation, aimless wandering or circling
- Head pressing
- Impaired vision
If your horse exhibits any of these symptoms call your veterinarian without delay. Do not hesitate, it may save your horse's life.
Is there a vaccine?
A vaccine is available through your local veterinarian. The vaccine consists of a two-dose series given 3 to (no more than) 6 weeks apart. Horses should be vaccinated with both vaccine doses at least 3 weeks prior to the start of mosquito season (June to December). After your horses receive their first two-dose vaccine, you need to have booster shots given 2 to 3 times per year thereafter. Please consult with your veterinarian.
How can horses be protected?
Maintain your horse's immune system by keeping them healthy (vaccines up to date, parasite control, and proper nutrition). A weak immune system may leave your horse susceptible to infections from the Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
During the Mosquito season (June through December) turn horses out during the day. Mosquitoes feed at dawn and dusk, so keep horses inside at these times.
If you keep your horse in at night...PLEASE do one or all of the following:
- Screened in stable, to keep insects out.
- The use of fans in the stables may help reduce the ability of mosquitoes to feed on your horses.
- Insect repellents are available, check with your local veterinarian
How can mosquito breeding sites be reduced? (most important)
- Throw out old tires (you can put out at least 2 per week with the trash)
- Throw out tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles, or any water holding containers
- Fill in or drain any low places (puddles, ruts) in yard
- Keep drains, ditches, and culverts clean of weeds and trash, so water will drain properly
- Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater, and drill holes in bottom of trash containers so any water can drain out
- Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets
- Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week or store in a position that water will drain
- Make sure your backyard pool is maintained properly
- Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete
- Change water in bird baths and plant pots or drip trays at least once a week
- Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well trimmed around the house, so adult mosquitoes will not hide there
- Keep gutters clean and free of debris and leaves
- Clean out all drains in stalls.
- Clean out and refill watering troughs weekly
Anything that can hold water for longer than 4 days needs to be drained.