Pigeon Fever - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-01-2019, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Pigeon Fever

Slowly getting comfortable and learning about horses. Long story...anyway today the barn owner said my horse looks like he has pigeon fever. Do u have experience with this, how easy is it to treat? Vet coming out but i have no idea what to expect, please don't scare me to death...
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-01-2019, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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He is eating , drinking and behaving normal
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-01-2019, 06:16 AM
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https://wagwalking.com/horse/condition/pigeon-fever

This is what I can offer. You called the vet, and I don't think there's much else that you can do. How long has that lump been there? Did it appear over time, or suddenly? I'm not entirely convinced that's pigeon fever.. as it isn't affecting both pectorals. That doesn't mean it couldn't eventually. Hopefully somebody else has seen examples of pigeon fever and can say yes or no. The vet certainly will. The good thing is that he's doing alright. You might check his vitals and note the color of his gums.

It's normally pointless to target Vitamin C as a dietary additive...but this is an ill horse. A little extra Vitamin C from natural sources should ensure that he keeps good levels of Vitamin C. I say 'natural sources' because apparently supplemental vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is not efficiently absorbed in the gut. A few fresh carrots every day should help, as well as access to healthy, fresh green pasture is also a good source of Vitamin C as well as E. But if your pasture is nonexistent right now (many of us are in wintertime or drought,) then do the best that you can do.

No diet, no hoof. No hoof, no horse. No horse is not an option!
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-01-2019, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, vet will be out tomorrow morning. I am buying fresh carrots now...Thank you very much. I cant even imagine what the problem is but we'll see...
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-01-2019, 05:31 PM
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@princepjlugo - Keep us posted and I hope he recovers completely and quickly.
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-01-2019, 07:18 PM
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That is quite a swelling, I don't know, I could be right off base, but just wondered if he got a nasty kick in the chest. I had a horse that had a swelling (not as bad as your horse) that he got from a horse kicking him,

Just throwing thoughts out there as I have never seen a swelling quite like that.
I will be interested to hear what your Vet has to say
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-01-2019, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Feathers7 View Post
I'm not entirely convinced that's pigeon fever.. as it isn't affecting both pectorals. That doesn't mean it couldn't eventually. Hopefully somebody else has seen examples of pigeon fever and can say yes or no.
Pigeon Fever doesnít necessarily have to affect both pectorals. Had a possible case over the summer that only affected one side of the chest (I say possible because the abscess drained before my vet could collect anything for testing so we were still up in the air about whether it was Dryland Distemper or just a regular abscess.

OP, how long ago did you notice this? My gelding started showing a lump in mid-July. I thought maybe it was a fly bite at first since it was pretty small, but as I do self-care, Iím around him twice daily and really noticed it getting bigger on the left side of his chest the second week or so of July. The my vet just happened to be coming out for another horse so I had her look at it. She thought maybe it might have been scar tissue or something, but told me to measure it and keep an eye on it since it didnít seem to bother my gelding. His vitals were all good. Appetite fine, no abnormal temperature, went out and had fun riding. He was just his same old self.

About mid-August, I noticed his lump seemed bigger and a little ah Ö squishier. My vet came back out for fall shots and took another look. Started throwing out possibilities of cancer (not reassuring) if it got bigger, but she wasnít too horribly concerned. It started looking really funky around the first week of September, when the skin turned a sort of funny color, and he lost hair around the lump. And then I noticed two little scabby bits that were where the abscess eventually broke and drained. Had my vet out right after the abscess drained, but we couldnít get the pus or anything if there was some to test for possible dryland distemper. She tried flushing it, but it was pretty clean at that point. If it was pigeon fever, he recovered well, and was back to normal relatively quickly.

Itís hard to say just by looking at that lump on your gelding if it is pigeon fever, but I see youíre in California like I am and the bacteriaís in the soil here, plus flies can pass it along, and we never really have a no-fly season anymore, especially when itís hot in the fall. If heís not running a temperature, your vet probably wonít do antibiotics (mine didnít) because usually antibiotics make it harder for the bacteria to go away. Your vet might lance it, but sometimes that does more harm than good because of the possibility of infection. Itís really up to the vet what they choose to do.

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post #8 of 21 Old 12-02-2019, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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You know what, he has been bickering with his pasture mate! They usually love each other but lately I have noticed little nicks on both of them and PJ does have little sores on the front above his hooves, about nickle size.... i will bring this up to the vet❤️Thank you
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-02-2019, 03:56 AM
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@CaliforniaDreaming Gotcha! Good to know.

No diet, no hoof. No hoof, no horse. No horse is not an option!
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-03-2019, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hello friends , the Vet said the mass in his chest isn't tender to the touch so doesn't think it's an abcess, bloodwork showed significant white blood cell elevation and inflammation marker. Hes on antibiotics/anti inflammatory meds...If I want to find out the root of his infection I need to take him in to the equine hospital for diagnostic work, Otherwise I just continue with the medication for a week and see what the swelling looks like at that time and then decide the next move, he is eating and drinking normally. I crushed up the medication and put it in his green which he didn't really like I chopped up carrots as well but he only ate the carrots, I need to add something sweet to the mix so that he will eat the entire dose.
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