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Update on Pigeon Fever

October 24, 2008

I talked with Dr. Meg a couple of days ago and she gave me this update on the PF outbreak in our area -

There are still new cases of PF. The past few have been in the Salmon Creek area. She has a lot of horses that she is suspicious of but they are not as sick. That’s good news.

For many cases that she has seen, the horses have not been off their property and there have not been any new horses on the property. This being said, she said go ahead and participate in activities. The incubation period is said to be as much as 55 days so even with our recent cold weather, it is possible to continue to see new cases for quite awhile yet. At one place with 5 horses, one horse came down with it and eventually all 5 were effected. 

She feels that we will now have PF here to stay. This year may be worse because our population has been naive to this disease although she said one horse had it bad and she sent in a blood test and it didn’t showed that he had developed any anti-bodies against PF. 

I asked her if there have been many studies done on PF and she said that UC Davis has done several. One of them was about flies carrying the bacteria. While it is active in the area, flies have it but when it simmers down, they don’t so they do move the bacteria around but they do not carry it like mosquitoes carry West Nile. The stuff is in the ground and certain conditions make it become active. 

There is still strangles at Whipple Creek stables but the last cast was lanced on October 2nd so it seems to be under control. With strangles, 70% of the infected horses become immune for life.

Ridgefield Equine Clinic is going to put on a Winter Lecture Series. The first one, on November 15th, will be on infectious diseases. They will also cover "How to winterize your horse". The January 17th lecture will focus on artificial insemination and the February 21st lecture will be “Foaling 101”. (Of course!) All the lectures will be from 9AM to 11AM.

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