Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM is a disease affecting the nervous system. It occurs in horses when a horse consumes food or water contaminated by protozoan Sarcocystis neurona (a parasite commonly spread by opossums, mice, raccoons, and other similar critters) or less commonly protozoan Neospora hughesi. Once the horse ingests the contaminated food or water, the protozoan invade the horse’s central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and causes progressive damage and infection.
The disease typically causes horses to experience neurological dysfunction like in-coordination, stumbling, inexplicable lameness, and can also cause behavioral changes, blindness, seizures, head tilting, and atrophy of cranial muscles that cause drooping lip, ears, or tongues. The disease may present quite suddenly or slowly over time, as many cases are very different. A diagnoses is difficult to determine because symptoms can mimic other neurological diseases and testing is done by process of elimination. (Tools such as blood tests may be able to detect certain protozoal antibodies, but not necessarily detect EPM. Multiple tests/samples of blood and or cerebrospinal fluid are often needed).
Horses infected by S. neurona can recover, but early detection is key. Horses experiencing severe symptoms may have damage that causes irreversible physical and neurological injuries.
Help Protect the Ride On St. Louis Animal Intervention Horses
With our trusty barn kitty on sabbatical due to our relocation, we are looking to purchase a grain locker to help keep our grain supply free of rodents that can carry EPM and other diseases, making horses and humans sick, and ruining our grain supply. We are very conscientious not to waste one pellet of grain!
If you're able, please consider providing an early Christmas gift for this essential grain locker, either as an individual, family, office, or group!
Our preferred option can be purchased directly here. Or you can send a $160 donation at rideonstl.org/donate and leave a "wish item" message in the comment section. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pick up or drop off.
Purchasing this grain locker will allow us to store 300 lbs more grain, decrease trips to the feed store, save time and money on supply management, and ensure our horses have clean grain free from contaminants.
:images from okfronline.com and thehorse.com