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Ticks - and tick disease (piroplasmoses) serious for horses.


Chuck&Betty

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When we first came to France we heard about 'tick fever' - but were not aware of just how virulent the virus is when contracted - or how serious it can be.

We have just got through a really worrying time with our 2 horses who contracted piro (as it is known by local people here).  Within the space of 4 days, my strapping cob Teddy became depressed, listless, temperature of over 40deg (normal for equines is 37 - 38) - disgusting yellow thick nasal discharge - and serious anaemia.  The vet warned that he had become so anaemic there was a chance he would not survive overnight..my other pony, Sox, also contracted the disease - but he did not succumb so badly.

We were very lucky that Teddy was so fit and well - and the next morning ate a small feed - by now the the first for nearly 6 days. Today, 10 days later we went for our first 'promenade'..

Clinical signs are very similar to a 'fly past' of equine flu, which can happen to inoculated horses who come into contact with another who has full blown flu..So horseowners - please be aware - at the first sign of these symptons (the giveaway for piro and not flu is yellow gums with red spots - and pale/yellow eyelids)- call the vet.

According to our vet, horse owners in the Northern part of France above the Loire region needn't worry - as the temperatures are generally lower and the disease does not exist (although ticks are there too) - so obviously horses brought over from the UK will never have come into contact with this disease.

 We have also learned that if a person gets bitten by a tick - piro can be passed on to humans - so a visit to the doctor (not vet!!) - straight away is adviseable.

 

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I am no professional and am thus cautions about commenting here (so sorry in advance). However, Piroplasmose is certainly present north of La Loire (caught from ticks which are also present). Certainly from a dog persepective anybody north of La Loire should not be ignoring Piroplasmose. Whilst the highest incidence rates are in the general SW areas (e.g. depts 17, 16, 33, 40, etc) it is worth noting that dept 56 (pretty well north of La Loire) has the same incidence rates as these SW departments.  Other departments north of La Loire also report significant Piroplasmose cases.

Remember that it is often fine if caught and treated quickly (for dogs).

I have a map showing incidence rates across France which I can e-mail to people if they are interested.

Ian

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