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4 cases of Potomac Horse Fever confirmed in Tennessee

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Posted at 10:49 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 23:49:40-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee State Veterinarian's Office announced four horses in the state have tested positive for Potomac Horse Fever.

Cases were confirmed in Hawkins, Robertson, Sullivan and Wilson County. The horse diagnosed with PHF in Wilson County had to be euthanized last month.

PHF is caused by bacteria thought to be carried by aquatic snail larvae and other hosts such as flies. Horses living near bodies of water or low-lying areas that could collect stagnant water are at risk. The state veterinarian's office says owners can lower the risk of exposure by providing clean drinking water and turning off insect-attracting stable lights at night.

It poses no threat to humans and is not contagious between horses.

“Transmission of this disease can be prevented,” State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “Potomac Horse Fever is preventable with regular vaccinations and environmental management. In addition to having your horses on a routine medical schedule, make sure they have clean drinking water. One way to do this is change from natural drinking water sources to frequently-cleaned water buckets.”

Signs of an infection include anorexia, diarrhea, colic, fever and laminitis. These symptoms can appear between two and 18 days after ingestion and can be deadly if not treated.