Published Date: 2012-07-06 02:12:37
Subject: PRO/AH> Corynebacterium, equine - USA (04): (FL)
Archive Number: 20120706.1191802
CORYNEBACTERIUM, EQUINE - USA (04): (FLORIDA)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 4 Jul 2012
Source: The Horse.com [edited]
More than 60 suspected cases of pigeon fever in horses have occurred in Florida this year , according to a 3 Jul 2012 news release from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Animal Industry Division. The majority of the cases have been identified in Okaloosa, Walton, and Marion counties, the release said.
"Historically, the disease has primarily been seen in dry, hot areas of the country such as California and Texas," the release read. "However, in recent years pigeon fever has spread further east, with recent outbreaks in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and now Florida."
Pigeon fever, also known as drought distemper, is an infection caused in horses by the _Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis_ bacterium. The condition produces mild fever and pectoral abscesses that give an appearance similar to a pigeon's protruding breast. The abscesses can also appear along the horse's belly, on the lower neck region, on the limbs, or on the face. Less commonly, the condition can produce deep abscesses in a horse's lungs, kidneys, or liver.
Pigeon fever is spread via insects and horse-to-horse contact, and horses can also contract the disease when bacteria from contaminated soil enter their bodies through cuts, scrapes, or mucous membranes. There is no vaccination to protect horses against pigeon fever.
"Horse owners with a horse showing signs of pigeon fever should have the horse examined by a veterinarian," the release said. "The only definitive method of determining if a horse has pigeon fever is by culture of the bacteria."
Owners in affected areas should closely monitor their horses for signs of pigeon fever. Owners whose horses exhibit signs of pigeon fever should contact a veterinarian for treatment options. In confirmed cases, infected horses should be isolated from other equids, and owners should implement good biosecurity practices.
[byline: Erica Larson]
[This disease should not be underestimated. It is a stealth killer. Even when recognized it is very difficult to treat. It can be expensive, and still be heart breaking. Keep a close eye on your animals, daily.
Readers are encouraged to read the moderator's comment in ProMED-mail posting 20120530.1149747.
The state of Florida can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/r/1yvG. A Florida county map can be seen at http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/county-map/florida.shtml. - Mod.TG]