Marla Lane-Irvine - Aptos, CA
Dennis’ Pigeon Fever
In August of 2008 we moved to a new barn in our area. I was thrilled at the quality of care, the consistent daily cleaning, the feed that was available and the weekly removal of the manure pile. An unseasonably warm fall proceeded and the flies came on strong. Everyone was talking about fly control and we were all actively spraying. With the flies came the bees, so when my horse Dennis grew what I thought was a welt on his chest, I attributed it to a bee sting. Within a week, three more welts showed up all in the pectoral range of the chest.
After riding one morning I walked Dennis up to a visiting vet and inquired about the welts. She smiled wryly and explained that the lumps did not appear to be bee stings or an allergy, they were abscesses. Abscesses? I had never heard of such a thing, but we were not alone. There were two other horses at the barn afflicted as well. No one seemed too worried and the vet did not elaborate further.
By the end of October, there were six separate abscesses and Dennis’ chest was quite swollen. I was riding lightly, and doing regular turn-outs. The movement seemed to decrease the swelling in the chest. Other than this, Dennis was not exhibiting symptoms. The barn manager arranged a vaccination clinic just before Halloween. That day, Dennis’ chest was swollen 10x its normal size! His legs looked like tree stumps and he was very lame. The attending vet diagnosed him right away with Pigeon Fever. She explained that there was a bloom of the virus all over the valley and that her own horse had just resolved an abscess earlier in the week. I had never heard of Pigeon Fever and so I hit the internet to read as much as about it as possible. This virus cannot be avoided through vaccination and it is spread by flies. The vet prescribed a protocol for limiting the spread of the infection and explained that the horse would not be contagious until the abscess ruptured (all six had blended into one). For the pain and swelling, I was given Bute and from there it was a waiting game. I soon found out that Pigeon Fever is like having Leprosy. As word spread, some boarders were requesting that I take my horse to a hospital and quarantine him!
The abscess came to a head on Halloween night. The vet arrived and did the lancing. It was a horrific thing to see with large amounts of bloody pus oozing slowly from Dennis’ chest. I mistakenly thought this was the end of the virus. I was very wrong! That first abscess oozed for five weeks straight. The skin became swollen and irritated from the fly repellant crème that had to be slathered over the area. The hair fell off and another large abscess formed four inches away. My vet explained that Pigeon Fever is a real pain, and can reoccur for months. Not only that, but it does a number on a horse’s immune system. Therefore no vaccinations and no worming available until all of the infection are cleared up. I felt that this virus was running a free course through my horse. The other horse that had Pigeon Fever at our barn had one small abscess and it resolved over a period of four weeks.
The second abscess came to a head in late December. I decided to treat it myself and avoid the hundreds of dollars worth of expense on my vet. The abscess was slow to drain and then another lump appeared but this time, it was under Dennis’ stomach. I was really concerned that this could be an indication that there could be abscesses inside his abdomen as well. At this point, I was beginning to panic. The research on this indicates that a vet will prescribe a long course of antibiotics which will serve to shrink the abscesses and in some cases may even resolve them. However, antibiotics are not a sure thing. If the abscess shrinks, it has the opportunity to enlarge when the antibiotics are stopped or the horse develops immunity to them. Then, the possibility of euthanasia becomes very real.
I contacted my friend at For Love of the Horse and explained my situation. She suggested that I try the Immune supplement, reporting that it stopped the case of Pigeon Fever in her own horse. Being skeptical and not wanting to waste money, I hesitated. In February, my horse developed another small abscess in the pectoral area about the size of a golf ball. That was the sign to me that this had gone on way too long and I was willing to try almost anything if there was a chance that I could stop the virus. I ordered Total Immune herbs and received it within three days. I started immediately with three scoops twice a day and within one week, the abscess on Dennis’ chest disappeared. All that is left is a ridge that feels like a skin defect! The abscess on his belly is completely dried up and the skin is healthy and not irritated.
Furthermore, Dennis is back to his old self. His personality has bloomed again, he is playful and eager. All of the swelling is gone, there is no ooze and I owe it all to the Total Immune Solution I ordered from the For Love of the Horse website. I whole heartedly recommend the product to everyone!