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Horse-Owners Should Be Aware Of Potomac Horse Fever Throughout Middle TN

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Horse-Owners Should Be Aware Of Potomac Horse Fever Throughout Middle TN

Potomac Horse Fever (PHF) is becoming a concern for horses across eastern and middle Tennessee this year.

State Veterinarian and Assistant Commissioner for Animal Health Dr. Samantha Beaty said it’s a disease that comes from bacteria carried by things like aquatic snail larvae and flies. Beaty said it’s a disease both preventable and treatable when the proper steps are taken.

“Prevention is a big deal in this,” Beaty said. “And I think getting horses off of a natural water source, especially during the hot summer months at the end of the summer, can be effective. The snails live in damp areas. But always from my perspective, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care.”

Beaty said prevention also comes from vaccinating your horses. She said that symptoms of Potomac Horse Fever include anorexia, diarrhea, colic, and fever. Beaty said that if any symptoms arise in your horses, contact your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis of symptoms.

“One of the things that veterinarians sometimes tell me is that horse-owners will see signs of colic and administer antipyretics,” Beaty said. “So they’ll give something that will decrease the fever. That’s one of the classic hallmark symptoms, so animal owners or horse owners, you want to be sure to let your veterinarian know of anything that they’ve done before the veterinarian arrives to look at the horse. Diarrhea in horses is a big deal regardless of the cause. If an owner sees diarrhea in horses especially with signs of colic and anorexia, they want to go ahead and reach out to their veterinarian. ”

Beaty said that while the disease can be fatal if not caught early, it’s not transmittable between horses. She said the disease is not a new one, but that there is the potential that cases are underreported. She said this is because Potomac Horse Fever is not a reportable disease. Reportable equine diseases in Tennessee include anthrax, equine infectious anemia, piroplasmosis, screwworms, and rabies.

Beaty said in general, management practices, such as insect and water treatments, will aid in the prevention of horses getting the disease.

The post Horse-Owners Should Be Aware Of Potomac Horse Fever Throughout Middle TN appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.