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Posts Tagged ‘ticks’

It has been brought to our attention that there has been 3 cases of Piroplasmosis in the last few days around the Confolens (dept.16) area. Whilst we don’t want to scare monger people, it’s always worth checking your equines for ticks frequently and knowing the tell tale signs of Piroplasmosis.The ticks that have been the culprits recently have apparently been very small and can easily be missed.

Please refer to our earlier posts on Piroplasmosis for more details on the disease;

https://equinerescuefrance.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/the-ticks-have-landed/

https://equinerescuefrance.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/equine-piroplasmosis-learn-to-spot-the-signs/

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Tick found on a horse

Tick found on a horse

Piroplasmosis is not a disease that many people from the UK have ever heard of or worry about. Two members of ERF, who live in France, have unfortunately had their horses fall victim to this dreadful disease and with their kind help and permission we have published this article to help you all be aware and vigilant of this potentially life threatening illness. Spotting the symptoms quickly and getting urgent veterinary assistance is of the essence and could save your horse’s life.

Piroplasmosis is a tick borne disease caused by the ‘babesia’ protozoan parasite. There are several different strains of babesia, including those that affect horses, dogs, cows and humans.

Once an infected tick has bitten the horse, it takes 7 to 22 days for the babesia to incubate. The disease is most prevalent during August to October each year.

Clinical Signs include: 
  • Fever
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Immobility and reluctance to move
  • Bodily swelling
  • Jaundice
  • Bloody urine
  • Cessation of bowel/bladder function

Due to the similarity of the clinical signs it can be confused with laminitis, colic or azoturia. However, the horse rapidly becomes worse and sadly horses do die without urgent veterinary treatment as it affects the vital organs of heart, liver and kidneys.

Treatment:

The initial treatment is with anti-protozoan drugs and this will be combined with supportive drugs for any affected organs. Sometimes a blood transfusion is necessary.

Be aware that if the horse is still incubating the disease during treatment the horse can appear to recover only to have the symptoms again after 7 – 10 days.

Nursing:
 
There is little information on the Internet with advice for the stricken owner and usually the sites say that prognosis is poor in severely affected animals.

It’s essential to restore the bowel and bladder function as soon as possible, so the horse will need to be tempted with tepid water (maybe sweetened) and very easy to eat foods.

If the liver is affected (signalled by jaundice) its essential to keep all feeds very low in protein. Alfa and horse feeds are typically high in protein so should be avoided initially. Bran is very effective in this situation when made very wet, the horse can almost drink it and it helps to restore bowel function whilst not straining the organs. Do not add salt.

Sometimes the swelling in the horse becomes so great that they find it impossible to move their necks so food and water will have to be offered by hand. It is also important to keep the horse warm and dry, with rugs and shelter if necessary.

Click the continue reading button to read two horse owners accounts of Piroplasmosis

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The ticks have landed!!

Well you can always tell when summer’s just around the corner when the beastly ticks start their campaign of terror! It is paramount to inspect regularly for these little blighters as they can carry the deadly Pyroplasmosis or Lymes disease. The best way to get a tick off your horse if you find one is to use a tick tool, shown below, which you slide under the tick and carefully twist anti-clockwise until the tick releases. Be careful not to leave any part of the tick still attached to your horse! Ticks are notoriously hard to kill but you can drown or stab them….drastic for such small things but you don’t want them catching a ride again!! Here’s some photo’s taken today of ticks found on Cindy one of our rescued mares. They were found in her mane and around the base of her ear.

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