TENNESSEE, USA — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that the state veterinarian's office confirmed two cases of Potomac horse fever.
The cases were in Middle Tennessee. one was in Rutherford County, near Nashville, and the other was in Dekalb County. Potomac horse fever can be fatal, but several previous cases were also mild. It is usually caused by a bacteria.
Its symptoms usually include fever, lethargy, poor appetite, diarrhea, and inflammation of tissue underneath a horse's hoof. It can also cause mild colic behavior in horses. Potomac horse fever can also cause pregnant horses to lose their fetuses.
It usually comes from a parasite in freshwater snails, which is released and infects hosts like mayflies or dragonflies. Horses grazing near rivers and creeks could be exposed to infected critters, and those critters can be a major source of infection during the summer and fall.
It has not been found to transmit from horse to horse.
The TDA is urging horse owners to protect their horses by regularly disinfecting stalls, water buckets, feed troughs and other equipment. They should also get rid of standing water where disease-carrying insects could gather.
As an extra precaution, they also suggested keeping horses from mingling with other, unknown horses.
Potomac horse fever is also not known to spread to humans and is not known to pose a threat to human health.