Mosquitoes are not just a threat to humans but also animals. Their bites are annoying, uncomfortable, and a vector for diseases. It results in poor feeding and health and in severe conditions; it can lead to death of the horse.
Mosquitos cause diseases such as the Western, Eastern, Venezuelan encephalomyelitis, and the West Nile virus, causing hundreds of horse deaths every year. These diseases cause symptoms such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Central nervous system disorders such as chewing movements, convulsions, or the movement of the limbs.
- Abnormal reaction to sound and light
There are both natural and chemical measures to fight mosquito bites in horses.
Chemical Anti-Mosquito Strategies
It is recommended to rotate different chemicals to avoid drug resistance by the mosquitos. The following are the chemical treatment for mosquitoes:
- Repellants is the most common method of protecting the horses from mosquito bites. Ensure you are using a non-allergic and high-quality repellant or oil for horses. Repellants are available in sprays or ointments. Before applying on the horse, apply a small amount of the repellant on small area of the skin to check if it might have any effect on the horse’s skin.
- Organophosphates and Pyrethroids- These chemicals effectively keep the mosquitos away from your animal. These chemicals temporarily disable the mosquito’s nerve cells which prevents them from operating well.
The chemicals are applied where there is a high concentration of adult mosquitos to prevent virus transmission. However, caution should be observed as these chemicals are harmful to human and animal health.
- Oil control is a biological control method that is applied by the mosquito breeding sites to suffocate mosquito larvae and pupae. When using best oil for horse to control mosquitoes, ensure it is lightweight, safe for water bodies, and recommended for this use.
The wrong oil will suffocate and drown other water insects and clog bird’s feathers, causing death. In the USA, the recommended oil is Golden Bear Oil.
- Vaccinations keep the horses protected from the mosquito-borne diseases. Ensure the horses are vaccinated according to the requirements, especially every spring. For good health of the horse, use wormer for horses and other measures to keep disease-causing parasites away.
Tips and Strategies: Anti-Mosquitoes for Horses
It is possible to protect your horse from mosquito bites without the use of chemicals. The following are effective natural methods of protecting the horses from mosquitoes:
- Fly sheets for horses– The use of boots, masks, and lightweight fly sheets are effective in keeping the mosquitos for the horse. There are fly sheets specifically designed for horses both at the stable and outdoors. Note that the fly sheets may be uncomfortable for the horse in the fields. It causes overheating and sweating.
- Destroy the breeding sites- Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water bodies. Drain the stagnant water around near your horse pen. If the water is not drainable, use safe oil to suffocate the mosquito larvae.
- Home Remedies- Use lemon or orange peels, onion juice, or vanilla on the skin of the horse. They produce substances that repel the mosquitos. Although these natural methods keep the mosquitos away, they may attract other insects on the skin of the horse.
- Introduce in your property organisms that feed on the mosquito. Some of these organisms produce toxins that kill mosquito larvae and pupae to reduce the mosquito population. This is a natural method with no effects. An example of these organisms is the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis).
- Have in place proper waste disposal methods around your property. Poorly disposed wastes such as tins, tires, and plastics trap water is breeding sites for mosquitos. They should be properly disposed to keep them away.
To protect horses from mosquitoes, implement the above tips. Ensure the horses are vaccinated to protect them from the mosquito-borne diseases. The combination of these methods will greatly reduce the harm caused by mosquitoes in both human and animals.