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
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.




  • 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.


  • 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 affected animals die.

  • 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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