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StemPhase News

October 14th, 2013 –Swanton, Vermont


In response to the recent posting about the “ Pigeon Fever “ outbreak; The disease, “ Ulcerative Lymphagitis “ is spreading across the United States and into Canada.

This bacterial infection is also known as Dry Land Distemper, Dry Land Strangles and /or Pigeon Fever.

Originally common in only the southwestern part of the United States, it is now  being seen in colder and wetter regions. It's possible that there has been a mutation with the bacteria DNA that allows it now to live in a wider range of climate.

This disease can cause prolonged debilitating symptoms of multiple abscess formation. In about 10% of cases, death can occur due to internal abscess formation. Death follows extreme toxicity, internal hemorrhage and/or organ failure.

Because my practice area includes Inland San Diego County, California, I encounter this disease quite often. In the 25 years of my practice life I have seen and been asked to treat well over 1,000 + cases. During this time I have learned some important characteristics of the bacteria and nature of the infection in horses. In the lab, culture and sensitivity results often show that the bacteria corynebacterium pseudo tuberculosis is sensitive to common antibiotics such as penicillin and trimethaprim sulfa. In the horse, however, due to the encapsulated nature of the infection normal antibiotics are usually ineffective and potentially dangerous.

During the years I have found a treatment protocol that has proved effective. In all horses, except pregnant mares, horses with lower hind limb infections, intravenous sodium iodine treatments are safe and effective.

Given at the first sign of infection, 250 ml of 200 mg/ml sodium iodine is given intravenously via a catheter once a week for three treatments. The sodium iodine not only kills the bacteria but also stimulates T-cell function.

In pregnant mares, horses with hind leg infections or internal abscess, colloidal silver/DMSO intravenously has proved safe and effective. 40ml of colloidal silver and 40 ml DMSO mixed in one liter of saline and given via a catheter intravenously.

This is given every day for 5-7 days. It is believed that DMSO helps penetrate the capsules that harbor the bacteria. The colloidal silver has very powerful antibiotic properties. It is also safe for the developing fetus.

In addition, in my experience the use of a product called Transfer StemPF formulated for pigeon fever it is also very helpful in conjunction with these two treatments. This transfer factor can be obtained from a company by the name of StemPhase Biomedical Ltd. from Swanton Vermont at

Transfer StemPF Product page,

This disease can be very frustrating for the veterinarian as well as the horse owner. Without the proper treatment the disease can have a very prolonged recovery period. It is not uncommon for some convalescing periods to last for months. With the proper treatment protocols, in my experience the convalescing period can be shortened considerably and the eventual outcome much more successful.

Jon S. Matthews, D.V.M.
Matthews Equine Services, Inc.
Ramona, California/760-789-1123

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