Zika and Your Horse
History of Zika:Though Zika was first discovered in 1947, you’ve probably only recently heard of the disease. That’s because it has spread, primarily through the bite of infected mosquitoes, to the Americas, and is expected to continue to spread to new areas.
On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, after a confirmed report of the disease in Brazil. The CDC has recently issued an alert for those traveling to areas where the Zika virus is spreading, such as Brazil, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and others. Though symptoms are often mild and short-lasting, the biggest concern is the risk it poses to pregnant women. Being infected with Zika during pregnancy may cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, in which a baby’s head is smaller than normal.
Zika & Animals:As a pet parent, you’ve probably wondered what risk the Zika disease poses to your animals. According to the CDC, there have not been any reports of pets or other types of animals becoming sick with Zika. Apes and monkeys have shown the ability to become infected with the disease but very few have shown any signs of illness. Microcephaly has not been reported in apes or monkeys with Zika, according to the CDC. Though more research is needed to conclusively understand the effects of Zika in animals, the CDC does not believe animals here in the United States are at risk of becoming sick with the virus.
Though Zika is not believed to be an urgent threat to animals, it’s wise to provide mosquito protection for your horses to protect against other transmitted diseases. There are many ways to minimize the population of mosquitoes in your horse’s environment.
Here are a few helpful hints:
- Remove sources of stagnant water. Stagnant water provides the perfect nursery for mosquito eggs. The egg, larval and pupal stages of development all take place in water. By simply storing any unused feed buckets and cleaning and changing water buckets/troughs frequently, you can be well on your way to reducing your mosquito population. The Pre-Strike® Mosquito Torpedo® is perfect for water troughs by offering up to 60 days of protection by slowly and continuously releasing an Insect Growth Regulator that prevents mosquito development (and is completely safe for humans, animals and fish).
- You should definitely make friends with insect repellents approved for animals. Some of our most popular repellents labeled for mosquitoes are Pro-Force™, Pyranha® Spray n’ Wipe or UltraShield® EX. For a more “natural” approach, Pyranha® Zero-Bite, BugPellent® and No Natz™ are great options. Spot-on treatments like Celebration® or Equi-Spot® can provide protection for up to 14 days.
- Fly sheets and fly mask do not repel mosquitoes, but they do create a barrier that prevents mosquitoes from landing on your horse and biting them. The Cashe®l Econo Fly Sheet is a highly adjustable fly sheet that is comfortable enough for continuous wear. Paired with a set of Cashel® Crusader Leg Guards and a Cashel® Fly Mask and your horse will be ready for the season.
Follow the links below to the products mentioned:
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