I walked out to the barn a few evenings ago and heard something that made me stop and listen. It could have been the whine of a distant train horn, but as I got closer to our stock tank and the three big live oak trees surrounding it, it dawned on me that I was hearing the collective hum of thousands of mosquitos looking for their next victim. I hate mosquitos and I would have sworn that they had not been there the day before. For some reason I have always gotten the feeling that those little devils like me just a little more than whoever I am with. As we have all been reminded in the news lately with information and warnings about the Zika virus, Mosquitos can be more than just a nuisance on a warm summer evening. According to the CDC, there is no known illness or disease transmission risk caused by the Zika virus in a horse (or any other domestic animal for that matter) but there are certainly many other mosquito borne diseases that can cause problems in horses in Texas. The risk is real especially with our unusually wet spring creating ideal mosquito conditions.
Several years ago the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) published vaccine recommendations for horses. The core vaccinations are the ones for which the risk of infection is universally great enough and the vaccines have been proven effective enough to recommend for every horse. The diseases that core vaccination helps to prevent, as you may know, are Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE), West Nile Virus (WNV), Tetanus and Rabies. The first three listed are transmitted by mosquitoes to horses. There are some great charts on the AAEP website (see link below) along with a thorough discussion of how the vaccines work, how they should be handled, some non-core/risk based vaccines available and descriptions of the diseases they help prevent so I won’t go into detail here but if you have questions about what your horse needs or just need to get it done feel free to give me a call.