EPM Threat to Horses from Opossums

Opossums and your horse’s health

Many horse owners have some awareness of diseases that can be contracted by horses and an understanding of steps to take to keep them healthy.  One disease that horse owners in North America (particularly on the east coast) should be aware of is EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis).

EPM is a neurological disease which can be subtle and difficult to diagnose but no less distressing for the horse and its owner.  Moreover, it is important that owners are aware of the disease as it can be fatal, particularly if it goes untreated.

EPM is caused by a parasite called Sarcocystis Neurona. The nasty parasite attacks the brain and spinal cord. In addition, it can cause devastating and long lasting damage to the nervous system.

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis can be treated and horses can recover well, if diagnosed and treated quickly. Furthermore, horses usually show improvement after a few of weeks of treatment.

How is EPM Contracted?

The primary cause of EPM is from opossum feces.  Consequently, horses contract the disease from eating contaminated feed or grazing.

What are the symptoms?

EPM can present itself subtly and severely.  It can present symptoms similar to several other equine neurological diseases. Symptoms include:

  • Changes in gait, lameness
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Problems balancing with lifted hoof
  • Incoordination (worse going up or down slopes)
  • Muscle atrophy, usually over shoulders
  • Paralysis of muscles of the eyes, face or mouth, evident by drooping eyes, ears or lips.
  • Mild depression
  • Trouble swallowing, dropping feed.
  • Leaning on a wall for balance
  • Loss of sensation along the face, neck or body.
  • A drooping lip or repeated facial twitch
  • Change in vision
  • Dropped feed or trouble swallowing
  • Head tilt
  • Drooping ear
  • Changes in behavior, including throwing the rider

How to prevent EPM?

As there are no preventable vaccines the best defense is to keep opossums away from horses and their feed. Keep exposed feed covered and remove garbage as soon as possible.

If you have a problem with opossums on your property, particularly if they pose a threat to your horse’s safety, don’t hesitate to call us for professional opossum removal, we serve most of central Pennsylvania.

Snake Removal Harrisburg

Snake Removal/Black Rat Snake

Snake Removal in Harrisburg, PA

The most common snakes in our area are black snakes and garter snakes. These snakes primarily feed on rodents and bugs. While those benefits are appealing, snakes living inside your home isn’t ideal.

About Snakes

Snakes are cold blooded meaning they can’t maintain a body temperature higher than the environments temperature. Some snakes prefer to hang out around rocks; they lounge on top of the rock to warm up or slither underneath it for shade. Most prefer environments around 55 degrees. Furthermore, they can survive in a 45-degree environment. Comparatively, at 32 degrees they will freeze to death.

Black Snakes

The average black rat snake ranges from forty to seventy inches. These snakes are the ones responsible for keeping mice and rats away. Moreover, they often hibernate in basements during the winter months. During the spring and summer, they like areas with loose soil, sandy habitats, or decaying leaves.

A large rat snake, around six to seven feet, can actually eat a raccoon or opossum.

Garter Snake

Common garter snakes range from twenty to twenty-eight inches long. They are found in a variety of places; cultivated fields, swamps, lawns, and gardens. Additionally, the eastern garter snake is the most common in Pennsylvania.

Their colors range from green to dark brown with prominent yellow stripes. Contrary to the popular belief, these snakes do have venom. However, it is not toxic to humans; it only slows down their prey.

What do they do?

Snakes enter homes and structures through small gaps around the perimeter. This also includes open basement windows or cracks in the foundation. Moreover, they enter in search of shelter, food, or both.

While entry points near ground level are ideal, black snakes are excellent climbers. They often climb brick, siding, or other rough surfaces to gain access to gaps along the roofline.

Are they dangerous?

Many non-venomous snakes are often mistaken for venomous snakes. The wide range of patterns and colors causes a lot of misidentification. In the Susquehanna Valley, the majority of our snakes are non-venomous.

About the Snake Removal Process

All snakes in PA are protected by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. For more information about local breeds of snakes, click here to be taken to their official website.

First, we fully inspect the perimeter of your home during the initial site visit. From there, we discuss trapping and removal options. We can then place traps and physically remove snakes without harm. Additionally, we relocate them to more suitable locations. Moreover, a range of exclusion techniques are available to prevent future issues.

If you have a snake or another animal in your home, call 717-419-0781, or use our contact form.

Backyard Wildlife Solutions offers snake removal service in Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Carlisle, Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, York, Reading, and surrounding areas.

Bird Removal

bird removal in Lancaster Pa

Bird Removal

When birds are returning from their southern homes in the springtime, they are searching for places to nest. Birds are looking for places that offer reliable shelter from the elements.

Moreover, they look for a higher place that protects their young. Sometimes a spot in or outside of your home becomes their home. Spring is the busiest season for bird removal in the Lancaster County area.

Where Do Birds Build Their Nests?

The most common concerns we hear throughout the springtime and summer are birds behind shutters and birds in vents.

Birds nest in your attic, vents, chimney, or anywhere else where they find suitable. Removing the birds is a priority; they make messes and carry diseases. They carry encephalitis, salmonellas, pullorum, transmissible gastroenteritis, and tuberculosis.

What Are My Options For Bird Removal and Repair?

Bird removal should only be conducted by an experienced and licensed professional. Backyard Wildlife Solutions are your bird removal experts near you! We offer methods for permanently removing the birds and preventing them from gaining entry in the future.

As licensed professionals in PA, we provide you with solutions to any issues with birds or other unwanted wildlife. We also identify and craft recommendations to resolve other probable issues that can arise once the current entry point is completely addressed.

Often, birds will find another area of your home to exploit once their primary area is taken.

Most birds in Pennsylvania are protected by federal law with the exception of a few nuisance species, such as house sparrows, starlings, and pigeons. If you have birds or other animals in your home, don’t hesitate to call 717-419-0781 or contact us.

Backyard Wildlife Solutions provides bird removal in Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, Reading, York, and surrounding areas.

 

Squirrel Removal in Denver Pa

squirrel removal in Denver Pa

Squirrel removal in Denver, PA

Sunday evening, we received a call from customer with a squirrel trapped in their fireplace. The home was located in Denver, PA. The owners recently opened the damper to build a fire, but the damper cap remained open.

Upon our inspection, we found the damper cap was not functioning correctly. The squirrel had climbed down the chimney flue and was unable to climb back up.

While squirrels are excellent climbers, newer chimneys are lined with clay tile. Builders started using these around the 1940’s. Older chimneys constructed of brick or stone provided ideal traction for squirrels to come and go as they pleased. However, the clay tile flues are too smooth for climbing. When squirrels are unable to climb up, they venture down into the fireplace.

The Removal Process

We removed the squirrel from the fireplace, and successfully closed the faulty cap. On the contrary, we recommended the cap be replaced.

A week later, the customer encountered another squirrel in their fireplace! In attempt to use the fireplace, the faulty damper remained open. We removed the squirrel, and closed the damper.

This particular cap and damper system is a Lyemance damper. The cable inside the fireplace opens and closes the damper. Generally, builders use these on a chimney if a damper was never installed. Additionally, they are used if the damper above the fireplace is broken. After each use, Lyemance caps must be closed once the fire has been completely extinguished. When open, animals have access to enter the chimney and fireplace.

At Backyard Wildlife Solutions, we install all stainless steel standard and custom chimney caps to prevent any critters from entering. We also inspect and seal chimney crowns to protect your chimney against water damage.

Backyard Wildlife Solutions provides squirrel removal in Denver Pa, and surrounding Lancaster County. We provide all animal removal and exclusion services in Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading, York, Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, and Harrisburg, Pa.

Squirrel Removal in Lancaster Pa

squirrel removal in Lancaster Pa

We are experts in squirrel removal in Lancaster PA and vicinity

Squirrel removal in Lancaster Pa is common year round, but during the winter months, inside activity is at it’s height. As the temperature drops, squirrels seek out shelter from the cold nights, and often enter chimneys and the attic and crawl spaces of homes. Squirrels can enter these spaces of your home by accessing a variety of vents, or by exploiting a “weak point” on your home. Proper exclusion work done by an experienced professional in conjunction with trapping and removal of the offending animal will insure your home against repeated squirrel issues.

Backyard Wildlife Solutions recently performed squirrel removal in Lancaster Pa. We received a call from a customer who was experiencing noise in their fireplace. They suspected a squirrel. After inspecting the fireplace and chimney flues, we were able to confirm that a squirrel had accessed the open chimney.

Quite often a squirrel that enters a flue lined chimney is unable to crawl back out, due to the smooth texture of the flue tiles. After removing the trapped squirrel from the fireplace, we were able to verify that there were no additional blockages in the chimney. We then installed properly fitted chimney caps on both of the open flues to prevent future issues for the homeowner. Aside from keeping out additional squirrels, the new chimney caps will keep out birds and raccoons, as well as rain, which will help prevent weather damage.

For help with squirrel removal in Lancaster Pa, call us at 717-419-0781 or use our contact form!

Learn about our other animal removal services.

We offer squirrel removal in Lebanon, York, Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, and Reading, PA.

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