Can Global Warming Affect Equine Health?
In short, the answer is not only “yes” but with the addendum that it is already happening.
The more relevant question should be to do with how that change manifests itself in the case of your horses and how you can do something to counteract that phenomenon.
The fact is that with the advent of global warming (or climate change, if you prefer), more and more species of fleas, ticks and flies of all kinds are moving farther north. With them, come the variant diseases and sicknesses that go along with the migration. The net effect is that the kinds of diseases that used to affect horses in Louisiana in 1995 are now an established problem as far north as Canada.
This phenomenon shows no signs of abating just now or at any time in the near future. There are some estimates that put a figure of 2,000 species of plant and animal that are heading north at the rate of a mile every year.
The way to counteract all of that is to ensure that there is a strong awareness amongst the public in general and that this also translates into action by ensuring that people are in a state of readiness to combat the changing biological landscape.
In other words, new vaccines, drugs and so forth need to be there before the situation gets out of control and not afterwards.
Much of the way forward really depends on the organic approach. Time and time again, it has proven to be the only real solution when it comes to exacting adequate fly control in a specific area. This zonal approach is the only one that has any sanity about it. You cannot rid the entire United States of flies and mosquitoes but you can control a specific area where you and your horse (or horses) live.
For example, there has been a marked increase in the numbers of biting flies in certain southern and mid-western states. These include Louisiana, Colorado and Texas, where the incidents of the flies and all the nasty diseases that they bring were up by a significant amount.
Another horrible equine disease that is migrating ever northwards is pigeon fever. This is the cause of deep-muscle abscesses in horses.
So what to do? Simply get on to a fly prevention program that includes the fly predator and fly traps. Some people even supplement the program with a homemade fly trap and the flies and dogs and horses will all get along a lot better when there are simply less flies around. The chemical approach has proven to be troublesome at the very least, with people having to pay for such an approach down along the line somewhere.