Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis The Master of Disguise

By Dr. Garrett Metcalf, DVM

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, or EPM as it is commonly known, is a devastating disease, and not all horse owners are fully aware of its debilitating and sometimes deadly capabilities to the horse. This disease has been known for some time, but it hasn’t been an easy road to figure out this disease.

EPM has a wide range of symptoms, clinical signs, severity and manifestations that make it difficult to diagnose. This article will discuss the history of EPM and how it can affect your horse. Also discussed are ways to prevent and treat horses with this disease.

What was described as EPM today was discovered in 1968 and was found to be caused by a protozoa parasite in 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1990s that the causative protozoa was identified. The leading causative protozoa agents of EPM are Sarcocystis neurona and Neospora hughesi, which is found to be in the similar phylum as malaria.

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