Posted on Facebook by Moore Equine Veterinary Centre
!!!Potomac Horse Fever Alert!!!
Our vets at Moore Equine have seen a number of horses recently that have been diagnosed with Potomac Horse Fever (PHF)
This disease is commonly seen from early summer to late fall in Alberta. It is caused by a bacteria called Neorickettsia risticii which affects the gastrointestinal tract of the horse. As part of the life cycle of the N. risticii, the bacteria lives inside of snails/slugs and aquatic insects (mayflies, caddisflies, etc). Horses ingest these bugs by accident when they are drinking water or eating hay/grass.
Infected horses are more quiet than usual, they don’t eat as much as normal (or not at all) and they may have a fever and diarrhea. It is important to note that some horses with PHF still have normal manure. Depending on the severity of the disease PHF can be mild to life-threatening for your horse.
Adequate treatment is important to treat dehydration, electrolyte and protein loss, and inflammation. Prevention of laminitis (“founder”) is very important in horses infected with PHF as these horses are at high risk to develop this potentially fatal inflammation of the hoof.
Please contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your horse(s).
Potomac Horse Fever infection can lead to severe life threatening laminitis.