The disease is not transmitted from horse to horse. Rather, the protozoa are spread by the definitive host, the opossum, which acquires the organism from cats, raccoons, skunks and armadillos and possibly even from harbor seals and sea otters.
Can you ride horses with EPM?
EPM can cause nerve damage, so a reader wonders if an affected horse can be rehabilitated. … For horses that do recover, the improvement is based on the initial severity of the clinical signs (see box). However, not all horses that “improve” according to the clinical scale are able to be safely ridden again.
How is equine EPM transmitted?
Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is caused by the protozoal parasites Sarcocystis neurona and Neospora hughesi, although most cases are due to S. neurona. The definitive host for S. neurona is the opossum, and horses become infected when they ingest feed or water contaminated with opossum feces.
Is EPM curable in horses?
Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a parasitic infection of horses caused by Sarcocystis neurona that can result in devastating neurologic disease. Infection with S. neurona can also cause a neuromuscular disease that doesn’t result in destruction of neurological tissues, and this is treatable.
Can a horse fully recover from EPM?
The sooner treatment begins, the better the horse’s chances are for recovery. Sixty to 70 percent of EPM cases aggressively treated show significant or complete reversal of symptoms. Many horses are able to return to normal activity.
How do I know if my horse has EPM?
Paralysis of muscles of the eyes, face, or mouth, evident by drooping eyes, ears, or lips; Loss of sensation of the face; Difficulty swallowing; and. Head tilt with poor balance—the horse might assume a splay-footed stand or lean against stall walls for support.
How quickly does EPM progress?
Our results indicate that EPM can manifest as long as 90 days after the parasite has crossed the blood-brain barrier (data not shown), but in most of the challenged horses evidence of infection occurred within 30 days and ataxia was present by 60 days.
How much does it cost to test a horse for EPM?
The test costs $61 per sample and the results usually come back within a week. Spinal tapping allows your veterinarian to look at your horse’s cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
What does EPM look like in horses?
Muscle atrophy, most noticeable along the topline or in the large muscles of the hindquarters, but can sometimes involve the muscles of the face or front limbs. Paralysis of muscles of the eyes, face or mouth, evident by drooping eyes, ears or lips. Difficulty swallowing. Seizures or collapse.