The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is urging horse owners to vaccinate their horses against the mosquito-borne viral diseases Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
Annual vaccinations should be given now to provide protection to animals prior to peak mosquito season which begins in late July, and to remain protective through the first hard frost.
“Mosquito-borne diseases such as EEE and West Nile Virus are a serious threat to the health of horses in Massachusetts, as infection can lead to death,” said state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux. “We ask all horse owners to heed this call and get their animals vaccinated, as the timely use of vaccines ensures a safe and healthy equine population across the Commonwealth.”
In 2019 there were eight equine deaths in Massachusetts, all in unvaccinated horses
- Other species such as pheasants, emus, llamas, and alpacas can also be affected by mosquito-borne disease, especially EEE.
Although available vaccines are only licensed for use in horses, owners should consult with their veterinarian for recommendations regarding other animals.