Creepy Crawlies and Horses: Mighty Mosquitoes

They might be small, but these flying fiends can spread some deadly diseases.
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Creepy Crawlies, Part 1: Mighty Mosquitoes
Although mosquitoes do not willfully harm horses (aside from getting a snack), it is still important for owners to minimize contact between mosquitoes' mouthparts and their horses. | Photo: Photos.com

They might be small, but these flying fiends can spread some deadly diseases

The original intent of this article was to relay how malicious and deadly some mosquitoes are, but according to Charles Calisher, PhD, professor emeritus of microbiology, immunology, and pathology at Colorado State University, mosquitoes are neither spiteful nor a menace to society. “Mosquitoes are not deadly,” he explains. “It is the viruses and microbes they transmit that are deadly.”

So although mosquitoes do not willfully harm horses (aside from getting a snack), it is still important for owners to minimize contact between mosquitoes’ mouthparts and their horses.

“Mosquitoes transmit some of the deadliest and most debilitating diseases in the world, including malaria, dengue fever, and lymphatic filariasis,” says Nicholas Ledesma, DVM, PhD, now a veterinary medical officer in the serology section at the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories, in Ames, Iowa; he researched mosquito ecology during his studies at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. “In addition to the human mortality and decreased quality of life they cause, mosquito-borne diseases (arboviruses) such as Eastern equine encephalitis afflict both domestic and wild animal populations

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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