Monday, June 29, 2009

Griffin is sick again

The other day I noticed that Griffin had a small fluidy looking swelling hanging between his front legs. Then it was about the size of a baseball, a little smaller even. A few days later, and it was much larger! It jiggles when he walks. I also think that the chest area is puffy and inflamed, and the jiggly fluid filled sack is probably what is draining from his chest. It's hard to really see how it affects his locomotion, since he catwalks around me anyway, but I do think he is moving more stiffly.

Everything I know about diseases tells me that this sounds like pigeon fever, but in all my research online, it doesn't appear to occur in the midwest. It seems to be a western states thing. Pigeon fever, also called dryland strangles, is caused by the introduction of a bacteria called Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis usually by flies and their bites. It can be very contagious and also spread to other horses by flies or poor sanitation practices. How Griffin might have come down with this, I'm not sure, although the bacteria does occur naturally in the soil in some regions.

But I could be way off. We also have Lyme disease here, but I don't think that would cause a reaction like I'm seeing.


Anonymous said...

Looks like it's time to call the vet - the only thing I've heard of that looks like that is pigeon fever - but I have no idea - poor boy!

arlene said...

It looks like Pigeon fever to me. It may have been brewing inside him for months. There's not much a vet can do but drain it when it's ready. But he'd have to be examined to tell if it's ready. Foxsun had several abscess's that drained on their own and he never had a vet see them. When the vet came out all of them had drained and then a few days later they started filling up again. Both vets told me to 'wait and see' which was very frustrating. I read that pigeon fever is now spreading around the country.

Unless you have a chute like the BLM has there's no safe way of examining him.

Andrea said...

Could it be bastard strangles? I sure hope not.

Soxy had pigeon fever a couple years ago. She healed up fine, but we did have it lanced and flushed by the vet. I can't imagine you could do that with Griffin. Luckily I think it usually will rupture on its own and drain, eventually resolving itself. The one thing I personally would not do is treat it with antibiotics. In the stories I've heard, I've only known that to make it worse, sometimes even fatal.

It went through my sister's boarding stable about a year ago, and all the horses came through fine, most were never even off their feed. I hope it goes that well for Griffin.

I'm sure you've read this, but you want to isolate the horse once it starts draining. Which he is already, but be careful not to track it around. But flies carry it around too, so there isn't much you can do about transmission. Probably a good idea to keep your horses covered in fly spray.

Andrea said...

Simply because of Kachina's strangles, I'm stuck on this idea of the possibility of bastard strangles. Here are some links:

The above two links look to be about the same horse.

There are a lot of articles with the sentence, "Horses with bastard strangles get abscesses in such places as the brain, abdominal cavity, and chest."

This link has pictures, but refers to "Dryland Distemper, Dryland Strangles, Bastard Strangles or most commonly, Pigeon Fever" as if they were all the same thing, when it also lists the bacteria name (Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis) which is not the same as strangles (streptococcus equi, if I remember right).

Keep us posted! I am SO sorry you're having so many health problems with these two. I hope it turns out to be nothing to worry about, and that this is the last abscess you'll see for a while.

Pony Girl said...

Oh goodness! Poor Griffin. I do hope you can figure out what it is and how to help him. Keep us posted!

Kara said...

Hmmm, it does seem likely that this could be bastard strangles. And if so, the prognosis does not sound particularily good! Especially since we can't handle him! I've called the vets, but one is on vacation, and the other just returned from vacation, so I couldn't actually talk to anyone. Unless an oral antibiotic can be effective AND I can convince him to eat it, I think it just might have to run it's couse. Either way, if it's pigeon fever or bastard stangles. Ugh! More quarantining!

arlene said...

It's the wrong time of year for pigeon fever. Good luck.