With the summer season in full swing, the potential for your horse to contract mosquito-borne diseases becomes more prevalent. By becoming educated on the illnesses that can be spread from these small bugs, you can lessen the chances of your horse contracting one of these viruses.
One disease that has become very common over the last few years is the West Nile Virus. Some of the symptoms of this virus include stumbling, weak limbs, partial paralysis, muscle twitching, and, in some cases, death (Penn State Extension, 2015). Horses can exhibit symptoms within 5-15 days of being bit by an infected mosquito.
Another common disease spread by mosquitoes is Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This disease can cause substantial damage to the central nervous system or even death. EEE is spread when mosquitoes feed on infected birds and, in turn, transmit the disease when they feed on horses or other mammals. Symptoms you should watch for include high fever, dullness, depression, lack of appetite, seizures, and blindness. Young horses are at the highest risk of contracting this disease.
The commonality between these two diseases is their prevention, which is vaccination. It is recommended that horses receive vaccinations for these diseases and others. If horses are kept up-to-date with their vaccinations, they will be less likely to contract these viruses. Just like a human receives vaccinations for measles, chicken pox, etc., horses need to receive their vaccinations to stay healthy.
To view a typical vaccination schedule, please visit:
To view additional information about the West Nile Virus, please visit: