SPARKS – The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) is encouraging horse owners to practice good horse health safety measures to mitigate the risk of disease as numbers of confirmed cases of pigeon fever rise in the fall. 

Year to date, the NDA Animal Disease Laboratory has confirmed 23 cases of pigeon fever, 18 of which have been confirmed since Sept. 1, highlighting the spike commonly seen in this disease this  time of year. 

A reportable disease in Nevada, Pigeon fever is a bacterial infection that can occur in cattle and horses. It can cause large abscesses to form and are most commonly found on the chest  and under the belly. Horses are infected when the bacteria enters  through broken skin or small scrapes or wounds.

Peak season for infection is late summer and into the fall.

“The key to limiting the spread of pigeon fever is good horse health safety practices,” said NDA interim state veterinarian Dr. J.J. Goicoechea. “Biosecurity practices  at home and at events are important.” 

Good horse health safety practices include fly control, not sharing water buckets and equipment, and avoiding tying horses in high traffic areas. If a horse owner  suspects their animals might be affected, they should contact their veterinarian.