By Christina DiSalvo, Equine Insurance Specialist
Weather brings more than wind, fire, hail and water. Mosquitoes, ticks, and a multitude of other creepy-crawlies bloom while we recover from the elemental damage. Aside from annoyance, these bugs bring disease, not only to ourselves but to our equine companions.
Routine vaccinations are the best source of prevention. But we need to be mindful of standing water, not just on the immediate boarding property but surrounding area. Mosquitoes can travel as little as 300 feet to 100 miles away from their breeding areas. According to an article at theHorse.com, “Flood of Equine Encephalitis Cases Follow Hurricane Isaac,” Hurricane Isaac created the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
As of September 2012, there have been 42 confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus (WNV) and 43 confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). These numbers in Louisiana are almost double to the reports issued by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Though these cases are cropping up in the southern and eastern states, all states are potential breeding grounds. Since these viruses can cause death, it is important to be vigilant about vaccinations and maintain a mosquito free zone.
Mosquitoes are an all year pest, so don’t think because it is may be getting a little cooler outside that you can drop your guard. Vaccines are recommended twice a year, typically in the spring and fall. Vaccinations and routine care are not covered under the Major Medical endorsement on a Mortality policy, they are necessary to keep your horse healthy, whether as a backyard pet or national champion.
Here’s a helpful checklist to make your barn the last place a mosquito wants to feed:
- Vaccinate twice a year.
- Remove all standing water on a regular basis.
- Use fans for covered/enclosed barns.
- Use insect repellents and/or fly sheets to keep the pests from biting.
- Avoid using lights inside or around the stable at dusk and keep a few incandescent bulbs around the perimeter of the barns to lure mosquitoes away from your horses.
- Contact the local vector control in your area to treat waterways, reservoirs and other natural sources of water to keep the mosquito population down. It’s what they are there for so don’t hesitate to call.
Of course, as all horse owners know, no matter what we do to protect our equines, they can still get sick or injured. Be prepared with a Mortality policy that is endorsed with Major Medical coverage. Even a trip to the vet hospital to be treated for a cold or stop pneumonia in its tracks can cost a couple thousand dollars. The insurance is worth the peace of mind.
Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate. Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein.