There's already the West Nile Virus, but now there's a new threat to horses in Southern Colorado. It's called Dryland Strangles or Pigeon Fever. And there are reports of more horses getting it.
Dryland Strangles is a bacteria found in the soil. Veterinarians think it is transmitted to horses by fly bites. There has been an increase in the number of horses getting this disease because of this summer's drought. Because it's found in the soil, there hasn't been much rain to suppress it and keep it from spreading.
The group Front Range Equine Rescue in Colorado Springs has seen first-hand, the effects of this illness. Just this week, three horses have been infected with Dryland Strangles.
Horses infected with the bacteria will get abscesses on the belly, chest, neck and legs. They could also become lethargic. If you do see that a horse is starting to develop these types of abscesses, take the animal to the vet. Antibiotics do work against the illness. Vets say, generally, this is not a life-threatening disease.
To prevent your horse from getting the disease, be sure the area around the animal clean, have the horse wear a fly mask, and use fly strips or fly traps to reduce the number of flies in your stable or barn.