Cases of pigeon fever reported in Ark. horses

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas agriculture officials say a bacterial disease has sickened horses in western and north-central areas of the state.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension Service says horse owners near Fort Smith and El Paso have reported cases of pigeon fever, which causes abscesses and a mild fever.

Assistant professor Mark Russell says pigeon fever is more prevalent in drier climates, but the recent drought in parts of Arkansas may explain why the disease is occurring here.

Extension veterinarian Jeremy Powell says pectoral abscesses are the most common symptom of the disease. Cattle are susceptible to the illness, but humans are not.

Powell says it's called pigeon fever because the abscesses can cause the appearance of a protruding breast, like that of a pigeon.

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