A new vaccine may help horse owners and veterinarians fight a painful, contagious and debilitating disease called Pigeon Fever.
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. has received a conditionally licensed vaccine to treat the bacterial infection. Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis is a soil-borne bacteria that can persist for months in a variety of environmental conditions. It is primarily spread to horses through open wounds, flies or mucous membranes. The disease is prevalent in hot, dry climates.
There are three forms of the disease: external abscesses, internal infection and ulcerative lymphangitis (limb infections). The most common form is external abscesses. If often causes swelling that resembles a pigeon breast in the horse’s pectoral region.
Although less common, internal abscesses located in the liver, kidney, spleen, and lungs, have proven to be difficult to diagnose and treat. Even with treatment, horses suffering from internal abscesses have a mortality rate as high as 40%. While easier to diagnose, treatment of external abscesses may be both time consuming and expensive as they must be lanced, drained and undergo daily cleaning until the infection in the area subsides.
“We are proud to equip veterinarians with a vaccine to help in the fight against this serious and unpredictable disease,” says Robert Keene, DVM, Equine Technical Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.
“During the last 5-7 years, an alarming increase in the number of Pigeon Fever cases has been reported in the United States, particularly in regions where it has never appeared before,” he adds. “Until now, protocols used to combat this disease-focused largely on treatment, not vaccination. Being the first to bring this vaccine to market exemplifies Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica’s (BIVI) commitment to shaping the future of equine health through innovative research.”
Veterinarians can order the vaccine through Boehringer Ingelheim.