Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a neurologic disease in horses caused by infection with the protozoan Sarcocystis neurona (SN). SN infects horses when they ingest the organism in contaminated feed or water. The definitive host of this organism is the opossum, which passes the organism in its feces.
What does EPM do to horses?
Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, known as EPM, attacks the horse’s central nervous system and causes inflammation and damage to the brain and/or spinal cord. EPM is passed on to the horse when they consume feed contaminated by opossum feces.
Can EPM kill a horse?
There they begin to attack the horse’s central nervous system. The onset of the disease may be slow or sudden. If left undiagnosed and untreated, EPM can cause devastating and lasting neurological damage.
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.
What is EPM caused by?
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.
What are signs of EPM?
Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of EPM
- Ataxia (incoordination), spasticity (stiff, stilted movements), abnormal gait or lameness.
- Incoordination and weakness which worsens when going up or down slopes or when head is elevated.
Can a possum kill a horse?
Bottom line: Yes, opossums are the culprit that transmits the causative parasite of EPM to horses.
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). A spinal tap better detects infection but it’s more invasive than a blood test.
Can you ride a horse that has 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.
What disease do opossums carry that kills horses?
And one common neurological disease affecting American horses is equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). Horses may develop EPM after ingesting feed or water contaminated with Sarcocystis neurona, a one-celled organism called a protozoan, that is spread by opossums and carried by other animals.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in horses?
Not all infected horses develop clinical signs of Lyme disease. If clinical signs occur, they can include chronic weight loss, sporadic lameness, shifting leg lameness, low-grade fever, muscle tenderness, chronically poor performance, swollen joints, arthritis and diverse orthopedic problems2-5.
Why does my horse stumble so much?
When Stumbling Signals Pain
A horse that modifies his foot placement to avoid foot or limb pain can also experience decreased receptor activation. “Some horses with foot pain in the front will tend to land toe-first in a way to minimize their pain, and that’s probably why they start to stumble,” Dyson says.
What are the symptoms of PSSM in horses?
Clinical signs of PSSM range from mild to severe. They include sweating, lameness, sore muscles, undiagnosed lameness, poor performance, and muscle tremors (“tying up”). These may occur with or without exercise. Under saddle, affected horses may be reluctant to go forward or collect.
Can EPM be cured?
EPM has a poor prognosis for getting a horse back to use if parasites occupy the brain and spinal cord (CNS). The damage isn’t reversible.
What is the most common disease in horses?
- Common Equine Diseases. …
- Equine Influenza (“Flu”) …
- Rhinopneumonitis/Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) …
- Equine Encephalomyelitis (“Sleeping Sickness”) …
- Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIA) …
- West Nile Virus. …
- Streptococcus equi (“Strangles”) …
- Tetanus (“Lockjaw”)
Can humans get EPM?
People can get sarcocystosis. They acquire the disease by ingesting (oral) the protozoan, most common- ly through undercooked meat prod- ucts. Disease in humans can involve either intestinal infection or muscular invasion by the parasite. Usually the disease resolves on its own with no signs of illness.