It is time to call James River Equine Services to set up your horse’s fall vaccine and parasite check. This summer has been very wet and all the bugs that bring disease to your horse have had a chance to multiply in large numbers. We have seen higher than usual cases of Potomac Horse Fever. (See article below) August is not too early to get the titer (blood level of antibodies) to protect your horse up as high as possible. Call Leza today at 434-953-6034.
Potomac Horse Fever Alert! – The wet, rainy spring and summer that we have had in Central Virginia has resulted in higher than average cases of Potomac Horse Fever (PHF). This is a disease caused by a bacterial organism that infects a water fluke that in turn infects a snail that is then ingested by your horse while grazing. Fresh water snails and other water insects are more likely to travel across your pasture when the grass is wet. They can thrive in water troughs and even under wet stall mats. The symptoms of PHF are vague and sometimes hard to distinguish. The hallmark signs are fever and diarrhea, but these are not always obvious. We have seen fever without diarrhea and diarrhea without fever. A horse’s normal rectal temperature should be between 98 and 102 degrees F. A horse with PHF usually will have a temperature between 102.5 and 105 degrees F. In complicated cases, a horse may develop swollen legs and sever fluid and protein loss requiring hospitalization and IV fluids. There is a vaccine that will give some protection in the face of the disease. The vaccine will not prevent the disease, but it has been shown to limit the severity of the disease. James River Equine highly recommends vaccinating. We recently had two cases of PHF in the same week. One horse had been vaccinated in early spring (March). It required fluids and hospitalization for over a week. The other horse had been vaccinated in June and only required IV antibiotics at the farm. It never developed diarrhea. We believe the level of antibody protection lasts about three months, so the second horse had a higher titer and therefore was able to fight the infection fairly easily at minimal cost. If your horse was vaccinated by Dr. Shane in the spring, it is time to call now to booster PHF and get the titer up to a protective level. James River Equine has always vaccinated against PHF as part of our regular recommended vaccine protocol.