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Discussion on Pigeon Fever

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Meta Diamond
Posted on Saturday, May 13, 2000 - 1:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 3 year old gelding that had a golfball sized absess in his chest. He shows no signs of feeling sick. He has no fever and is eating well. When the vet came out he told me that if it's pigeon fever he probably has absesses throughout his whole body and he might not survive if the culture comes back positive for pigoen fever. That made me very scared so I called the breeder that I bought the horse from as a yearling and she said that pigeon fever is very common in the area. She is in California. She said that the absess gets lanced then heals up and thats it.I live in the Pacific Northwest and it seems there is not much kowledge on the subject. At this point the vet has lanced the absess and it is draining nicely. The horse is on antibiotics also. We are still waiting to see the results from the culture. Should I be worried that my horse might die from this?
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Stephany Coate
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2000 - 12:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO and Meta-
I, too, would be very interested in this, my 14 mos. old colt has two knots on his neck that aren't going away. I originally thought that he had been kicked since initially it was swollen and looked like one big welt. Now, that swelling is gone and there are two lumps that remain. They don't appear to be sore, nor does he appear to be sick. I'm from West Virginia, I have never heard of pigeon fever before. Meta's post has me wondering now. What is pigeon fever, how do they get it and what are the symptoms? How is it treated? Thanks Doc. Let me know if I should call my vet.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2000 - 4:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No death from the cutaneous forms is rare. See the article that this forum brancehs from for details.
DrO
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Stephany Coate
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2000 - 11:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO-
I read the article and I'm sorry but it didn't clear things up much for me. At the risk of sounding like I'm asking a dumb question...where are the ..."axilla, inguinal area, ventral abdomen"...?
The lumps on my colt's neck aren't growing and they don't look like they could rupture, he doesn't have any fever, either. I suppose, they could be welts from being kicked after all and just a long time in healing? He's had them for at least 3 weeks now. They are on the underside of his neck about half way up where the head and neck meet, if that helps. Thanks. :0)
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2000 - 7:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That is no problem Stephany, use the medical dictionary under the reference section of The Advisor. Not being able to examine the lumps I am unable to pass judgement on what they are, you should have your vet out to look at them.
DrO
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Stephany Coate
Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2000 - 9:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO-
Thanks, makes more sense now, I looked them all up and he's clear in all those areas. Thanks, again.
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Louis F. Arrecche
Posted on Thursday, Jun 29, 2000 - 10:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 12 year old gelding. When I bought him I thought he was lame due to being thrashed by the other horses he was in with. He had several knicks and scrapes and one knee was swollen. Brought him home, hot wrapped the knee and within 2 days the swelling was almost totally gone, but now he was limping (hard) on the opposite leg. I put a shoe on him (he was tender while I was nailing, even though I nailed low) the shoe made it worse (I thought) so I pulled the shoe and put him in an easy boot. For 30 days I soaked the foot once a day with epsom salts and also did a course of antiobiotics (thinking it was now a deep abcess). Somewhere along the line the horse started getting little bald spots (base of the ear, one, little round areas on his chest, round circular areas on his sheath area, a few spots on the neck, etc.) Also about this time he got a hard tumor? looking thing right up under his flank, and a little tiny growth on his sheath. I took him to the vet, who cultured the hair (which was also extremely thin, almost to the point of baldness on the neck and back area) and he said it defintely was not fungus. He tested his hooves with a tester and said to get rid of him, thought he had navicular and thought the fist sized knot was lympho sarcoma. I brought him home. "Bleached" him for a week, to make sure it wouldn't spread. Then the fist sized lump went to the size of a walnut cut in half. Great! I thought, this thing is almost gone. Didn't see the horse for a few days, came back out and the little lump had grown to the size of man's fist and literally exploded. It drained and was all raw looking. I kept washing it daily and tried salves, etc. It seemed to do better just drying on it's own. Also during this time he had a few soft pockets develop on his chest by his legs, but they just came and went. I had a shoer come and shoe him all the way around, we put a solid circle bar shoe on him. I am now washing the tumor? (which is shrinking, and applying wonder dust). His foot is better, not limping nearly as much. I just heard about pigeon fever and have looked every where on the net, without much info re: hoof problems, etc. Also we live in a very remote area and I don't know if my vet knows what we are dealing with. Any help would be much appreaciated. Thanks, Tonja
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Helen Weedon
Posted on Thursday, Jun 29, 2000 - 11:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Tonja, I can't comment on pidgeon fever as it isn't a problem we have to put up with in the UK, or the lameness for that matter, although he might have made his sound leg sore by resting his lame one too much. No, its these growths that interest me. Although your horse is 12 I would suspect sarcoids, and although they are only supposed to bother younger horses my friend's 8 year old is currently being treated for them (again) by a specialist unit. He has lots of small ones immediately under one eye (like grains of rice) has previously had a big one inside the same eyelid, and has at any time a collection of flat, plaque-like ones on his chest, side, under the girth, plus some hard lumpy ones on and around his sheath. They really can grow incredibly quickly, and as you have found, explode and seem to lose their guts (the vets here call it shelling out). The specialist said my friends horse has a poor immune system which is why they still come up on him at his age. Alot of sarcoids look like cauliflowers - do your lumps fit that description? My friends horse also has very thin hair around his sarcoids. If your horse has had a rough time lately and isn't feeling so great, some dormant virus or something like may be causing sarcoids to reappear. Any way of finding out if he has had them before? I hadn't realised until very recently how much these things can pull a healthy horse down as they suck up blood for themselves. My friends horse invariably gets them in the late winter, especially if he has been turned out for a while and dropped some condition. I suppose its a bit like us getting herpes sores when we are stressed or tired.
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Louis F. Arrecche
Posted on Saturday, Jul 1, 2000 - 12:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O,
Could you please comment on my horse that I wrote about above, the 12 year old gelding. As I stated earlier I am not sure our vet knows what we are dealing with, and we are 4 hours from any place that has a vet. I also found out this morning that my friend found a young horse wandering around this morning and placed him in the pasture next to my horse. They sniffed noses for about 5 minutes before she got them separated. I do not wish to be the cause of a new epidemic when this horse returns to his original home. Thanks. Tonja
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Louis F. Arrecche
Posted on Saturday, Jul 1, 2000 - 12:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O,
I also found out this morning that "charlie" is now lame on all 4 feet. I'm sick about this.
Thanks, Tonja arreche@hdo.net
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Posted on Sunday, Jul 2, 2000 - 9:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Tonja,
There is very little to go on, you bought a horse that was lame from uncertain causes, it sounds like it may have had an abscess on its sheath that ruptured and drained, and since buying the horse the lameness has waxed and waned and now it appears to be lame on all four feet. You really need a good examination by a professional to straighten it all out, and the abscess may have been corynebacterium (see article associated with this forum for more info) it could have been many other causes. I would not seek the services of someone who, with no more information than the one time results of hoof testors, pronounces a horse irreparably lame.....even if it turns out to be true.
DrO
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Chris Johnson
New Member
Username: Marroon

Post Number: 1
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, Mar 18, 2005 - 11:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

We have a 18 yr old American Saddlebred who had surgery in KC about 2 to 3 years ago to remove a lump underside of neck, half way up the neck. Had vet check at purchase and all was good. Last July he had a big bump on the topside of his neck by his mane and it ended up bursting after treatment by antiobiotics, bute, and about two weeks. No signs of sickness before or during besides soreness. We hospitalized the horse for a month and they did cultures, nothing came up in them. After getting him home he was hot packed twice daily w/Epsom Salt/Warm water to keep it open and draining. I would push the pus from the middle of the neck to the opening to get it to drain upward. He healed and yes I saw another lump (smaller) than the first and treated it in the same manner but never seemed to get the pus to drain as well. The Doctor has seen it all since and feels he healed very well. Well, 8 months later and the smaller lump has returned. I noticed two weeks ago a hard spot in the neck/underside about halfway up. Just watched it, no movement just a bit of a hard spot. Last week the smaller of the two lumps from previously seemed to have growth. So..I massaged and he seemed to respond positively to that. The next day the smaller lump is swollen and today it is very large. He is shaking his head alot and he rubs on his neck quite often if allowed to. Almost like he is trying to get it out or rub it out. But you can tell it is painful. No fever, no decrease in eating, attitude good for having a lump that size. The doctor is coming out today to ultrasound, bute and antiobotics. Other than the doctor suggesting we take him 6 hours away to hospitalize and monitor, we aren't getting any suggestions as to what causes this or what to do about it. So..I will be requesting it be lanced and I will hot pack it to drain, in the upward way again. Please tell me more about Pigeon Fever and what other symptoms of it I should be looking for. Any other suggestions you have would be appreciated! This horse used to show in several states and is a beautiful working horse other than this problem we have come across. My daughter and I ride and he is not used for show any longer, but he still works fabulously. We have taken him out of the rack for concerns of his age/health and we also have shortened his hooves quite a bit in comparison to the show hooves and/or show shoes they were putting him in. Thank You!! CJ
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Erin Jaffarian
Member
Username: Ejar

Post Number: 14
Registered: 4-2002
Posted on Friday, Mar 18, 2005 - 7:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I boarded my horse at a small barn a few years ago that dealt with a case of Pidgeon Fever.

The most significant thing I remember is that it is highly infectious, and you need to be extraordinarily careful about clean up. To my knowledge, people can catch the bacteria too.

It was discovered early at my barn, and the mare was begun on heavy duty antibiotics immediately. She was packed with heat and epsom salts to draw out the infection. The infection travelled down her lymphatic system, from mid-neck down her left front leg, and along the left side of her belly. It erupted in three or four spots. Watch for new infections on the down side of the existing one.

The mare was alert, eating, and happy except for the fact that she was stall bound until the infection had cleared. (Didn't want to risk exposure to the turn out spaces).

If I remember correctly, it took a while to clear up, like four to six weeks. The biggest concern was transmission to other horses, or reinfection once the mare was back to health.

Good luck.
Erin
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CJ
Member
Username: Marroon

Post Number: 2
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 - 12:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ejar, or any other specialist out there. How did they diagnose that it was pigeon fever? We ran blood, pus and biopsy in the last bout and came up with nothing. So....we just treated the symptoms of the abcess.

Is there something specific they are looking for that would jump out at us? I am trying to read everything I can but laymans terms really work best. But yes, we are very cautious about the clean up/disposal and etc. when caring for him.

Thanks for your tips! Has your mare had any bouts since then and how long ago was this? This has been on ongoing thing for the past 3 years at least. I was thinking that the immune level of repeating lowered. Well, thanks!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 12346
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 - 11:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

CJ, have you read the article associated with this forum, it explains ways to diagnose pigeon fever with culture. Just click on » Pigeon Fever, Dryland Strangles, & Distemper » at the top of this page.
DrO
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CJ
Member
Username: Marroon

Post Number: 3
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 - 12:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O, I guess I read through sooo many things last night I forgot to review the diagnosis area in this section after reading the test studies. There sure is alot of them! So..if I were to call my vet on Monday and say, "Can you please culture on blood agar, looking for small, white and opaque colonies being a gram positive to pleomorphic rod when stained." He would know what I am talking about? Sorry, but as I said, I am so much better in laymans terms and I don't want to offend him but am destined to help this animal. I know he had mentioned the titers on the previous abcess but can not recall the number. It must have been higher than 512 because he was kept on antibiotics the whole time--he said it was staff, that's basically why we ended up hospitalizing him.

I don't really understand how the titer test and the organism gram positive test are at all linked together. They are separate tests, one to show for pigeon fever and one to show the titer level correct?

A friend of mine owns several miniatures and he says they get these all the time. He lances them and pours peroxide in them and they dry up and heal in 3 or 4 days. I think I read that peroxide can cause problems with the healing, but 3 to 4 days, that's nothing in comparison to what we went through last time!

To top it all off, this horse gets hives every time we give him shots. We thought he was allergic to the needles, but there were two times that he did not get them, so that can't be it. Thanks for leading me back in the correct place as I am new to the sight. Let me know if you can think of anything else. As of today I am on a hot packing regimen and this 16.3 guilding is sometimes a bit jumpy when trying to keep the drainage spot open and free flowing. Thanks!
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Erin Jaffarian
Member
Username: Ejar

Post Number: 15
Registered: 4-2002
Posted on Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 - 4:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The mare never got it again, and we were never quite sure how she got it in the first place. No one else at the barn contracted it either. The best guess we had at origin was flies, since our vet had two other patients in the area with the same thing.

As I recall, the vet did do a test to identify the bacteria, but it wasn't my horse so I didn't pay super close attention (my thoughts were on prevention! "Keep it away! Keep it away!" )

I've heard an old horseman's tale that keeping goats with horses in susceptible areas prevents the horses from getting infected. Have absolutely no proof for it, but the source was a real smart old cowboy. I must admit, if I was faced with multiple infections, I'd consider a goat cheap insurance. (Hey! How could it hurt?!)

Good luck.

Erin
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CJ
Member
Username: Marroon

Post Number: 8
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 - 11:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Erin, sorry it took me forever! It's called Equi Spot-On Fly Control. They also have a UltraSpot and Freedom 45 Spot. Says they are water resistant but I found them to be less effective when it rained. They are to repel and kill flies, gnats, ticks and mosquitoes. I don't believe it did all that but it did improve the fly irritation and numbers around him & me! Says it only lasts two weeks but even with 1/2 dosages I found it to be good for four.

OK, maybe you can help me here, I want to continue with Dr. O on the results of the info of the testing on the abscess we were originally discussing but don't know if I should post it here or if I go someplace else. Do you know? Thanks! CJ
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 12437
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 - 6:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

CJ I replied to your post in the suggestion box on finding posts.
DrO
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CJ
Member
Username: Marroon

Post Number: 14
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, Apr 2, 2005 - 4:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO, well he's about healed up here but can't tell for how long. It still looks a bit lumpy by the maine so I guess it's a waiting game now. Had him on longe line today and head was so far down thought he'd scoop up the arena w/his nostrils. He seems to be hungrier! & I really looked hard at him today and believe he is loosing weight. Only other thing I have to go on besides my prev. post is he is raising his right rear more often. Now when I'm grooming him I get to the middle of his belly & up goes that rear leg almost like I'm tickling him--does it now and again when I'm not even touching him too. That's been happening for quite some time--but not in reaction to the grooming. We have him on For A Flex Joint Formula & Life Data Ferriers Formula. Had been stretching the rear legs & thought it was getting better. OK onward.

The biopsy on the abscess didn't culture anything. The timing was good on this one this time too, but nothing more to go on. Sooo..I am searching and ran into a few questions. I read the thread on Onchocerca and my question is if adults worms are there could they be causing enough hate and discontent to cause an abscess? Also, can an abscess be considered a lesion? I am seeing lesion being used often but I think it may be being used loosely when I truly need it to be used otherwise if I am to get myself & him on track. Have been using Ivermectin 4x yearly as dosage states but not on empty stomache. Will now though. Last time used Strongid, that's what the barn wanted. Now I think I may be missing the L4 stage.

I have other specific questions but I think I've probably taken as much of your time today as I dare. Just wandering if you think this might be a path to persue? Fistulous Whithers?

Thank You!!
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CJ
Member
Username: Marroon

Post Number: 15
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, Apr 2, 2005 - 4:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO, I must add this horse has never shedded out completely. Thanks again!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 12460
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Apr 2, 2005 - 11:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

No I don't think this sounds like either onchocerca or fistulous withers. I am concerned about the deworming program you describe, the article on Overview of Deworming explains how to check out the efficacy of your program.
DrO
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CJ
Member
Username: Marroon

Post Number: 20
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Apr 4, 2005 - 3:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO--Have reviewed and am making some changes with the help of the vetrinarian locally. Thanks for your help, will let you know of any updates. CJ
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