Date of this Version


Document Type



Peters, A. T. (1906) Malarial Fever in Horses (Press Bulletin (University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus). Agricultural Experiment Station), No. 22)


This disease is also called "swamp fever" by farmers, and "pernicious anaemia" by veterinarians. In Nebraska many of the farmers call the disease "typhoid fever," for it resembles this fever very much. The manner in which the disease is contracted by horses is not definitely understood. In the last few years, the veterinarians in the Philippines have discovered a disease, prevalent in India under the name of "surra," the description of which corresponds very much to that of malarial fever of horses in this country, with the exception that bacteriologists have not been able to find the surra parasite in the blood of affected animals in this country. As the parasite of surra is very easily detected in the blood of affected animals, and as we have not been able to discover it, the conclusion seems reasonable that the diseases are not identical. It is difficult to ascertain how the disease first made its appearance in Nebraska. We find it on the marshy pastures during very 'wet seasons. It is the general opinion of those who have studied the disease that it is caused by feeding on certain low, marshy pastures and on hay that comes from such pastures. Whatever its origin, the disease has spread on these pastures during the last few years. Horses die from this disease on the Missouri river bottom and in the Elkhorn valley and farther up in the western part of the state. In these districts the loss is very great, especially in wet seasons, such as we have had in the last few years. To the stockman the loss is very heavy, for when it once makes its appearance on a ranch, it is very apt to recur, and carry off every horse. Many ranch-men in these districts lost all of their hores and were seriously crippled in finishing up their season's work, many farmers losing from two to eight head of horses. This is the most serious disease among horses that this state has been called upon to investigate.