Equine encephalomyelitis
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Equine Encephalomyelitis. Also called sleeping sickness, brain fever or blind staggers. Viral disease of birds and mammals including man, horses, ponies and mules. Affects the central nervous system, high death rate. Symptoms of Encephalomyelitis.

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Equine Encephalomyelitis

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Equine encephalomyelitis

Equine Encephalomyelitis

  • Also called sleeping sickness, brain fever or blind staggers.

  • Viral disease of birds and mammals including man, horses, ponies and mules.

  • Affects the central nervous system, high death rate.


Symptoms of encephalomyelitis

Symptoms of Encephalomyelitis

  • High fever, partial loss of vision, reeling gait, incoordination, yawning, grinding of teeth, drowsiness, sagging lower lip and inability to swallow.

  • In the final stage horses are unable to rise, become paralyzed and die (50% mortality).

  • Horses that survive may have permanent nerve damage.


Equine encephalomyelitis

  • This disease can be confused with heavy metal poisoning, rabies and moldy corn toxicity.

  • Seasonal disease (insect vector) usually occurs June to first killing frost.

  • Affects animals of all ages.


Equine encephalomyelitis

  • Birds act as carriers ( cardinals, chickens, ducks, pigeons, blackbirds and turkeys).

  • Virus enters bird through a mosquito bite, multiplies and is then picked up by other mosquitoes that bite the bird. These infected mosquitoes then transmit the virus to mammals such as horses and man.


Equine encephalomyelitis

  • Two separate strains of virus are endemic in the US, one is known as Eastern and the other as Western, neither affords immunity against the other.

  • A third strain called the Venezuelan strain is seen in some of the border states.

  • Because horses are transported across the US it is essential that they be vaccinated against both the Western and Eastern strain.


Equine encephalomyelitis

  • Mild cases may slowly recover in a few weeks, severely affected animals die.

  • Mortality in horses is 20 to 50% for the Western strain and over 90% for the Eastern strain of the virus.

  • No antiviral treatment is available, supportive treatment and good nursing care will help recovery in mild cases


Prevention

Prevention

  • All horses, ponies and mules should be vaccinated annually and at least 15 to 30 days prior to the annual occurrence in your area.

  • Animals being transported through areas having a history of sleeping sickness should be revaccinated at least two weeks prior to transport.

  • Foals can be vaccinated at six weeks of age.

  • Control insect populations.


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