Md. Dept. of Agriculture is urging horse owners to watch out for symptoms of the disease.
Annapolis, Md (KM) The Maryland Department of Agriculture says a case of Potomac Horse Fever has been detected in the state. Officials say a pony stabled in Frederick County became ill on July 26th and did not respond to treatment. The gelding died on July 30th. A necropsy was performed at the Frederick County Animal Health Laboratory on July 31st. The University of Kentucky’s Equine Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed the pony died from Potomac Horse Fever..
The agency is urging horse owners whose animals graze near streams, rivers and creeks to watch out for symptoms of the disease, including mild to severe fever, diarrhea, dehydration and loss of appetite. Potomac Horse Fever is contracted by horses who consume aquatic insects such as dragonflies and mayflies. Horse owners are strongly urged to keep their horses away from flooded pastures.
“Potomac Horse Fever surfaces in Maryland every few years,” says Dr. Michael Radebaugh, the State’s Veterinarian, in a statement.. “With this summer’s heavy rains, pastures and meadows, where equines graze are more likely to flood, increasing the chances a horse could ingest these aquatic insects.”
He urges horse owners to turn off stable and barn lights at night since aquatic insects which carry this disease are attracted to bright lights.
The MDA says Potomac Horse Fever is not transmitted from horse to horse, and humans are not risk.
According to a statement from the agency, the mortality rate for horses which contract Potomac Horse Fever is 5% to 30%. A vaccine is not always effective, but it may lessen the severity of the disease. Horse owners are advised to follow the recommendations of their veterinarian when it comes to vaccination protocols.
Veterinarians who diagnose this disease in horses are required to report it to the State Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Radebaugh, at 410-841-5787.
By Kevin McManus