Wildlife Disease: Contagious Critters

Diseases from other animals pose a constant threat to our horses. Disease-causing agents, or pathogens, lurk in local wildlife, fly overhead in birds, and lay in the next field inside cows peacefully chewing their cuds. These disease agents–whether
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Diseases from other animals pose a constant threat to our horses. Disease-causing agents, or pathogens, lurk in local wildlife, fly overhead in birds, and lay in the next field inside cows peacefully chewing their cuds. These disease agents–whether fungi, bacteria, or viruses–are just waiting for the opportunity to cross over into a horse. The diseases vary in circumstance, severity, and methods of transmission. We turned to John Timoney, MVB, PhD, DSc, MRCVS, Keeneland Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center in Lexington, Ky., to help explain the role other animals play in equine infectious disease.

How often do horses catch diseases from wild or domestic animals? Timoney says it depends on the conditions. "I don’t think you could come up with a percentage because these diseases are opportunistic." Outbreaks happen when the conditions are right, not just because the pathogens are present, which makes occurrences hard to predict.

What Affects Disease Transmission?

Geography plays a big part. For example, pseudotuberculosis is currently a problem in Oklahoma and Texas, says Timoney, "but we rarely see it here in Kentucky, and there are parts of the U.S. where you would never know it existed. So, it depends on what part of the country and even the time of year

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Katherine Walcott is a freelance writer living in the countryside near Birmingham, Al. She writes for anyone she can talk into paying her and rides whatever disciplines she can talk her horses into doing.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Where do you go to find information on pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID)? Select all that apply.
77 votes · 134 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!