Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) made its way into New Hampshire last week. According to The Eagle Tribune, the State Health Department has found the virus in a batch of mosquitoes in Londonderry. Now that infected mosquitoes have been identified in our area, it is important for horse owners to take precautionary steps that help reduce their horses’ risk of contracting the disease. Though no infected horses have been identified in New Hampshire to date, simple prevention of the disease is best because most horses that contract EEE do not survive.
Symptoms of EEE in horses include erratic behavior, head pressing, unsteadiness, and a loss of coordination. Any horse showing these symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. While it will not help a horse that is already infected, an equine vaccination exists for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Fortunately, this vaccine can help prevent horses from getting the disease in the first place. If you own a horse, please discuss the vaccine with your veterinarian. While some owners perform routine vaccinations for their own horses, experts within the Entomology Department at Rutgers University advise against this for this vaccine. The EEE vaccine must be administered according to a specific protocol in order to be effective, and if that protocol is not followed, the horse may not be as protected though the owner thinks it is.
In addition to the vaccine, horse owners can help reduce risk by controlling the mosquito population on their property and around their stables. EEE is spread to horses through the bite of a mosquito. The disease is not communicable between horses, and horses cannot pass the disease to humans. Like horses, humans become infected by being bitten by an infected mosquito. Unfortunately, an infected horse indicates that the disease is present in the local mosquito population, and there is no way of knowing which mosquitoes are infected without testing. As you can see, the best way to control the disease is to control the mosquitoes that spread it.
In addition to eliminating stagnant water that can easily accumulate in many areas around a stable, owners should treat their property for mosquitoes to have the most effective control. Here at Mosquito Squad of Southern New Hampshire, we are mosquito elimination experts. Our barrier sprays and misting systems can reduce your mosquito population by up to 90%. This means there are far fewer mosquitoes present that could bite your horse or a family member. Protect those you love, both four-legged and two-legged, from EEE by calling us today to talk about your options. You’ll be one step closer to managing the mosquitoes on your property.