PHOENIX, Ariz. -- May 19, 2004 -- A sinister new type of tourist has discovered the Valley’s allure—mosquitoes, which are swarming in with gusto this year. These insects are known to spread the potentially fatal West Nile Virus (WNV) disease, which is carried by more than 40 mosquito species. According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA), two mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV this year. The first equine case of 2004 was confirmed earlier this month, indicating that the threat of infection is growing in Arizona—a state well known for its diverse and popular equestrian culture. This disease can harm humans--but it is very dangerous and often lethal to horses. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that horse owners implement safeguards to prevent animals’ exposure to these extremely hazardous mosquitoes.
Vaccines that protect equines against the disease are widely available to horse owners through veterinarians. But they are not 100 percent effective in preventing infection, and additional precautions must be undertaken as well. According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in the first 2004 case of equine WNV, the horse had received the first of a two-shot vaccine series.
A Phoenix-based, leading national animal health care company, Farnam Companies, Inc., has developed an insecticide called Mosquito Halt ® Repellent Spray that is formulated for application on horses to kill and repel mosquitoes. Available over-the-counter and through equine veterinarians, it contains two insecticides, permethrin and prallethrin, as well as two repellents.
Mosquito Halt ® for Horses also provides protection against face flies, stable flies, and house flies on horses, ponies and foals, and includes aloe, lanolin, and paba sunscreen for further protection from the elements.
Clinical signs of WNV in horses include indications of neurological disease such as lack of coordination, circling, muscle tremors, and head pressing. If a horse displays these symptoms, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately. Since WNV was first detected in the United States in 1999, the number of horses affected by the virus grew steadily to 14,717 in 2002 alone. Studies show that approximately one-third of horses infected with the disease die or are euthanized, while those that survive are sometimes left permanently disabled.
“It’s essential that horse owners use safeguards such as repellents on their animals to provide mosquito protection, given the severity of the disease. A vaccine (for horses) is the first step but it’s not enough to leave it at that. It also helps to rid the home and stable of standing water where insects breed—and that includes managing horse watering equipment. So it’s best to use equine mosquito repellents all summer while the insects remain a threat,” said Tom Kennedy, Ph.D., vice-president of new product development at Farnam.
Prevention is also important for pets. Fighting mosquito bites can reduce the risk of several diseases in dogs as well as in horses. Mosquito Halt ® for Dogs is formulated specifically for canines and for use on non-food/non-feed surfaces to repel mosquitoes, flies, and gnats. It is easy to use: lightly spray 8 to 10 inches from dog to the back, underside, legs, back of neck, base of tail, and inside and outside ears. For control of mosquitoes within your living environment, use Mosquito Halt ® on surfaces such as pet bedding where insects rest.
According to the FDA, pet owners should contact their veterinarians if the animal shows signs of WNV infection, such as fever, depression, lack of coordination, muscle weakness or spasms, or seizures and paralysis.
Farnam has in-house experts in the new product development division, as well as on an executive level who are available for interviews regarding WNV prevention. Farnam is one of the most trusted names in equine health and has a growing pet division. If you are interested in using Farnam as a resource, you can reach Anne Robertson, director of public relations, at (602) 664-1218 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Mosquito Halt visit www.mosquitohalt.com. Consumers concerned about West Nile Virus can call (602) 285-1660 or 1-800-234-2269 and request a free educational brochure.