Sorely in need of help

By Connie Orcutt • Published: September 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

An infectious disease called cutaneous pythiosis is wreaking havoc on Florida’s horses.

The infection is caused by a fungus-like organism called Pythium insidiosum, which can flourish in any standing water that doesn’t freeze. This pathogen causes raised open sores, usually on a horse’s legs but potentially anywhere on its body.

Horses contract the disease after drinking or immersing a wound in Pythium-tainted water. Even well-maintained horses can become infected.

With Florida’s plentiful marshes and frequent tropical storms, prevention can be tough. Removing or fencing off areas of standing water is recommended. If that isn’t possible, horses should be moved away from water.

Pythiosis is treatable, but early detection is crucial for a successful outcome. Don’t delay in contacting your veterinarian if your horse is sorely in need of help.