On June 1 the first case of Potomac horse fever (PHF) was confirmed by PCR testing in Kentucky. Typically PHF is not seen in Kentucky until mid-July, and the Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian has asserted this early appearance was probably due to the wetter than normal conditions this April, followed by record-breaking warmth in May.
PHF is an acute enterocolitis syndrome that often presents as mild colic, fever and diarrhea and can affect horses of all ages. It can also cause abortion in pregnant mares. PHF is often associated with horses kept in close proximity to water, such as creeks or rivers, as it is believed most horses contract PHF after inadvertent ingestion of aquatic insects that carry Neorickettsia risticii and not the water source itself.
Horsemen are advised to consult with their veterinarian on the best ways to mitigate risk of disease. Research indicates disease risk may be reduced by turning off lights in and around barns and other areas occupied by horses at night.
Confirmed Cases by County
Bourbon – 7
Bracken – 1
Fayette – 2
Harrison – 1
Metcalfe – 1
Scott – 4
Shelby – 1
Woodford – 1
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