Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pigeon Fever

No.  I have not run off to the city to adopt random pigeons.  There are no pigeons with cold or flu, and I have not been trying to take their temperature.  Until a week ago, I have never put those words together in a sentence, nor have I heard anyone else do so.  Have I lost my marbles?  Am I making up my own words again?  No.  I will get right to the point.

Last Tuesday I went outside to help the Man in Charge change some light bulbs around the barn.  He was on vacation and tackling his list of chores.  He had opened the door to my mare's stall, but she was not outside. When I got out there, he made the statement, "She doesn't want to come out."


I went in her stall and made her go out, only to find that she could not walk.  She was obviously in a lot of pain, and my first thought was that she must be foundering again.  It took me all of two seconds to get to the house and get the vet on the phone.  It would be a few hours before he could get out to us.  This gave me time to run through a crazy set of emotions.  I was sure at this point that it was founder.  I knew she could not survive another round of this.  She had too much damage the last time, and even though we have made huge strides in her recovery, she would be done.  If you have now idea why I would think these things, you can catch up on the back story by clicking HERE.  Then the update on the back story by clicking HERE.

I only spent a minimal amount of time on this thought process.  Then I became mad.  Mad that this was happening.  Mad that I was going to have to bury her.  Mad that I have spent so much time getting her back.  Mad that we have spent so much money getting her back.  Mad that she let me believe we had made it back.  Mad that she didn't just die the first time.

Yes, I said that.

I basically flipped out.  Ranting.  Raving.  Pacing.  Using bad words.  You name it.  The Man in Charge was a little shocked at my reaction.  Usually I cry.  I worry.  I panic.  I start asking questions that will hopefully lead to answers.  Not this time.  I pretty much had her buried, and I was furious about it.  I spent a good amount of time blowing up.  Then when I caught my breath, we went back outside.  Upon further examination we found two huge lumps on her chest.

What the hell?

The vet pulled in, and went right to work.

Good News:  Not Founder

Bad News:  Pigeon Fever

I have spent all week taking care of her.  Shoving medicine down her.  Some days she actually got it in her, other days, not so much.  Some days she wore it.  Some days I wore it.  No shots though.

Thank goodness.

The basic description of Pigeon Fever:  It is a bacteria that lives in the ground.  It used to be prevalent in very dry locations in the west, but due to our lovely drought it is huge problem in Texas and pretty much all the way to Florida.  States have seen huge jumps in cases in areas that really have never had a problem with it.  Apparently it reached huge levels in 2011 and 2012.  I have been oblivious to this fact, and would have loved to remain that way, but not any longer.  I have heard a lot of confusing information, and have started researching anything and everything available on the topic.

I will be posting more information and links to said information for those of you that have horses.  If you have never heard of it, you are lucky.  You may want to make yourself a little familiar with it now though.  There have already been two case in our area, one being us.  The odd thing is that you don't usually see it this time of year.  My vet congratulated us on being his first case of 2013.  Hopefully it will start raining and this will go away.  I have been hoping for rain for over two years now.  Now I am really hoping for it.  Last year apparently was a really bad year in Texas, and somehow we missed it.  I guess we are just late to the party, and from what I am reading, this is a party I could have skipped.

Real quick - I have spent a lot of time looking into any possible relation or link between chickens, horses, and pigeon fever.  No worries.  I will admit, I did most of this while I was eating eggs for breakfast this morning.  My concern was not for eggs or chickens, but horses.  If I had read one false statement, those chickens would be out of here, but the girls dodged a bullet.  They can stay.

For those of you who can't wait for the next post, you can Google the topic.  The actual name is:

Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis 

Also known as Pigeon breast, Pigeon fever, False strangles, or Dry land distemper.

It has nothing to do with tuberculosis.

It has nothing to do with pigeons.

It has nothing to do with birds in general.

To be continued...

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