UW Extension Releases Potomac Horse Fever Recognition Poster | Information

March 29, 2022

These Park County horses owned by Jennifer Fernandez contracted Potomac horse fever in summer season 2020. The foal survived, but the mare did not. UW Extension just lately launched a bulletin publication titled “Potomac Horse Fever Is in Wyoming and Adjacent States” that describes the disorder, how it infects horses and what horse house owners can do to reduce or handle the ailment. (Jennifer Fernandez Photo)

Scott Schell owns horses and has lived in Wyoming for 59 several years. Right up until he met Jennifer Fernandez, a horse operator in Cody, Schell experienced hardly ever listened to of Potomac horse fever (PHF) in Wyoming.

Right after Fernandez shed a mare to the sickness, she wanted to raise consciousness between other horse proprietors to the hazard PHF poses. Schell, an entomology expert in the University of Wyoming University of Agriculture and Organic Resources’ Division of Ecosystem Science and Administration, agreed with her and began operating on a UW Extension instruction effort and hard work to do it.

UW Extension recently launched an awareness poster titled “Potomac Horse Fever Is in Wyoming and Adjacent States” that describes the illness, how it infects horses and what horse entrepreneurs can do to stop or treat the ailment.

“I assume that, in the PHF-endemic location of the state, persons who have experienced their horses get the disorder or had a friend’s horse get it are really conscious,” Schell suggests. “Additionally, quite a few veterinarians in those people known PHF parts suggest vaccination for the sickness. Even so, I believe several folks from other areas of the state are not knowledgeable of PHF.”

PHF is a warm-time illness of equines. Horses, mules and donkeys deal PHF soon after unintentionally ingesting grownup aquatic bugs, these as mayflies and caddisflies, contaminated with a bacterium. The disorder commences with delicate indicators, normally just one to three weeks right after ingestion of the infected bugs.

In accordance to the poster, signs or symptoms horse house owners really should look at for are melancholy, lack of appetite, watery diarrhea — gentle colic, with watery but lowered intestine seems — and laminitis symptoms on all hooves. If a horse is depressed, owners need to check out the animal for a fever ranging from 102 to 107 degrees.

As PHF progresses, far more intense signs or symptoms this kind of as acute laminitis can arise, and the sickness can trigger up to 30 % mortality. Mares that are 100 to 160 days pregnant when infected with PHF might abort at 190 to 250 times in pregnancy after showing to recuperate from the disease.

“It is element of excellent horse administration to observe what is ordinary for your animals and then to look at for the abnormal every single time you are all over them,” Schell claims.

For the reason that PHF is a bacterium, it is treatable with the proper antibiotics, in accordance to the poster. If a PHF infection in a horse is regarded, diagnosed and addressed quickly, an animal’s prognosis is tremendously enhanced.

When he admits he is no veterinarian, Schell claims, in accordance to the literature he has study, initiating the intravenous antibiotic treatment plans in advance of a horse displays the excessive diarrhea signs and symptoms of the ailment will cut down the probability of a negative result.

Apart from vaccinations, a excellent way to protect equines from starting to be contaminated is to transform off barn lights through summer months evenings when aquatic bugs are traveling. This motion can aid avert the bugs from ending up in water troughs and foods mangers, wherever they could be eaten by horses.

Schell has a amount of suggestions as to where by to release the poster.

“I feel any place the horse-owning community may possibly be viewing or paying out time waiting at will be a superior position for the poster — so, veterinarian offices, feed suppliers, boarding stables, extension workplaces, etc.,” he states. “I system to get some printed get them to the 4-H horse packages about the point out and have the users request to submit the posters in acceptable sites all over the point out. I consider the poster needs to go up in areas the place it is a identified chance for horses the place there are horse homeowners new to an endemic place or just going to there to know what the signs and symptoms are to check out for.”

Schell provides that horse house owners from pieces of Wyoming where PHF may perhaps not be current need to have to be conscious of the symptoms in circumstance the ailment is spreading to other river basins. In 2002, PHF was diagnosed in the Massive Horn Basin. Right before then, the illness was only known to be existing in the considerably southwestern section of the condition.

“Hopefully, it does not spread everywhere you go,” he claims. “But we need to identify PHF’s existing extent and observe for growth.” 

PHF is at this time acknowledged to occur in western Wyoming and adjacent regions of Idaho, Utah and Montana. PHF also takes place in sections of Nebraska and South Dakota.

Schell hopes to establish a undertaking in cooperation with some researchers to seem at both the prevalence amount of PHF in the state and in which the sickness is current or absent. Information on this is significant for strengthening PHF management and furnishing steering to equally veterinarians and horse owners.

“For case in point, if we randomly sample horses 5 a long time and more mature that have lived all of their life in a PHF-endemic river valley and obtain that 95 % have been formerly contaminated, it will show that a new horse from a PHF-free of charge area brought there will likely contract PHF, and vaccination to lower the severity of the sickness is a very good plan,” Schell claims. “My hope is to require 4-H members with their horses and make it a ‘citizen science’ venture.”

The poster can be identified at www.wyoextension.org/publications/Search_Facts.php?pubid=2091&pub=B-1375.

For much more facts about the PHF recognition poster, connect with Schell at (307) 399-9344 or e mail [email protected]