Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Wet Weather Leads to Thriving Mosquito Populations

Rain can result in an abundance of mosquitoes, which can transmit serious diseases to your horse.

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Many parts of the United States experienced above-average rainfall this year, with May being the wettest on record in more than a century. This trend is expected to continue through the summer and fall.

For equestrians, the rain that can help encourage pasture growth and reduce dust can be an annoyance, creating mud in outdoor arenas, turnout pens, and pastures. The rain can also result in booming mosquito populations that can transmit serious diseases, which is why it is important to make sure your horse is protected.

Mosquitoes require standing water or moist soil to breed and they thrive in wet weather. These pests can transmit Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE), and West Nile virus (WNV) to horses. These potentially deadly diseases affect the central nervous system and can result in clinical signs including facial or limb paralysis, muscle twitching and impaired vision.

Horse owners should consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate disease prevention plan for their horses. Vaccines have proven to be a very effective prevention tool. Horses that have been vaccinated in past years will need an annual booster shot. However, if an owner did not vaccinate their animal in previous years, the horse will need the two-shot vaccination series within a three to six week

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