LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) is reminding horse owners to practice good horse health safety measures as the number of confirmed pigeon fever cases starts to rise.

The NDA Animal Disease Laboratory has confirmed 23 cases of pigeon fever this year, 18 of which have been confirmed since Sept. 1.

According to the NDA, a spike in pigeon fever is commonly seen in late summer into early fall.

Pigeon fever is a bacterial infection that can occur in cattle and horses. It can cause large abscesses to form and most are commonly found on the chest and under the belly, according to the NDA.

Horses are infected when the bacteria enter through broken skin or small scrapes or wounds.

“The key to limiting the spread of pigeon fever is good horse health safety practices,” said NDA interim state veterinarian Dr. J.J. Goicoechea. “Biosecurity practices at home and at events are important.”

Good horse health safety practices include fly control, not sharing water buckets and equipment, and avoiding tying horses in high-traffic areas.

NDA says if a horse owner suspects their animal may be affected by pigeon fever, they should contact their veterinarian.