‘Sound the alarm’ on home fires

On average, seven people die in the United States each day as a result of a home fire. Most of these tragedies happen in homes without working smoke alarms, according to a press release from the American Red Cross. Through May 12, the Red Cross is “sounding the alarm” on home fire safety as Red Cross workers will install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms and help families create fire escape plans.

Those wanting to request free smoke alarms can call 2-1-1 or visit

getasmokealarm.org.

SWNPHD encourages people to vaccinate horses

Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department in McCook is encouraging all horse owners to vaccinate their horses against West Nile virus.

“West Nile virus can be just as serious for horses as it can be for people. The good news is that there is a safe and effective vaccine for horses that can easily be added to the horse’s spring vaccine schedule,” said Dr. Cort Mohr, DVM, veterinarian at Four Winds Animal Clinic.

West Nile virus is transmitted to horses though the bite of an infected mosquito. Horses cannot transmit WNV to other horses, birds or people.

Per the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the signs and symptoms of West Nile encephalitis in horses include loss of appetite, depression, fever, quivering muscles, and weakness of limbs. Infected horses may or may not show clinical signs.

While there is no specific treatment for horses with WNV, the Department of Agriculture has these recommendations for prevention:

» House horses indoors during peak periods of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn).

» Avoid turning on lights inside the stable during the evening and overnight.

» Place incandescent bulbs around the perimeter of the stable to attract mosquitoes away from the horses.

» Remove all birds, including chickens that are in, or close to, the stable.

» Topical preparations containing mosquito repellants are available for horses. Read the product label before using and follow all instructions.

» Fogging of stable premises can be done in the evening to reduce mosquitoes; read directions carefully before using.

» Vaccination is the best practice for prevention of WNV in horses. Owners should contact their veterinarian for additional information.

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