Horses in drought areas have increased chances of disease |

Horses in drought areas have increased chances of disease

Many areas in Arkansas, Oklahoma, northern Texas and Louisiana are seeing increased cases of horses being diagnosed with pigeon fever or some may call “drought distemper.” According to Mark Russell, assistant professor-equine extension at the University of Arkansas, “Pigeon fever is not very common in Arkansas. It is more prevalent in drier climates, but the recent drought in parts of Arkansas may be why we’re seeing it now.”

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has received more than 30 reports, while KXAS-TV, Dallas, said the disease was on the rise in northern Texas. On KWTV-DT, Oklahoma City, 60 cases were seen in the Shawnee area of Oklahoma.

The disease causes abscesses to form on the breast of the horse making it protrude like a pigeon breast. They can also occur along the belly, lower neck region or front or rear limb. Cattle can also be susceptible to the disease. Usually it is transmitted by insects, especially flies, but can be transferred by horse-to-horse contact or by contaminated soil.


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