Horse owners in Oregon are being advised to help protect against West Nile Virus by vaccinating their animals and taking steps to control mosquitoes this summer. For those who have already vaccinated their horses in the past, a booster shot will strengthen immunity.
The vaccine for horses is available through local veterinarians.
A low percentage of mosquitoes carry the virus and a low percentage of horses bitten by infected mosquitoes become ill. But a horse showing signs is a serious situation. The disease causes inflammation of the brain and about one-third of affected horses die. Symptoms include stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness in the legs, depression, muscle twitching, and death.
For questions on equine testing contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture, 503-986-4680.
Control mosquito breeding sites
Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where you work or play, by draining sources of standing water. In this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.
At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.
The hours at dusk and dawn are peak mosquito biting times. Consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times or take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning. Mosquito activity usually starts by April 15th and decreases significantly by September 15th.
When possible, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.
Treating clothes with repellents containing permethrin or DEET will give extra protection, since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent containing DEET on the skin under your clothing.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water.
Individuals and businesses who offer pesticide application services for the control of mosquitoes in Oregon are required to be licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.