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What is EPM?

EPM (Equine Protozoal Encephalytis) is a neurological disease seen in horses that is caused by ingestion of the infective sporocysts of Sarcocystis neurona. These sporocysts are shed in the feces of oppossums that have ingested meat with the parasite encysted in in (dead cats, skunks, birds, etc). Once these infective sporocysts are ingested by horses who eat feedstuffs of drink water contaminated by possum feces, the immune system normally kills the protozoan parasite but in a very small number of horses (less than 1% of exposed horses) the parasite makes it's way into the central nervous system and begins to reproduce. In doing so, it destroys cells in the central nervous system and causes inflammation in the central nervous system. Both the cellular destruction and the inflammatoin serve to disrupt the normal flow of nervous impulses along the central nervous system and lead to neurological deficits such as lack of coordination and balance, loss of muscle control, etc.  (****)
Please CLICK HERE for a very educational website all about EPM, how it can affect your horse, symptoms and treatment etc.!




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