Equine infectious encephalomyelitis symptoms, treatment and prevention

Equine infectious encephalomyelitis symptoms, treatment and prevention

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Horses, like any other animal, suffer from various diseases. The emergence of infectious equine encephalomyelitis among the livestock poses a threat to all animals in the stable. Therefore, people working with horses should be aware of the signs of the disease and how to treat this severe viral infection. After all, timely diagnosis and treatment can save animals.

Description of infectious encephalomyelitis

This is an acute viral disease, manifested by disruption of the central nervous system (central nervous system), inflammation of the spinal cord and brain, paresis of various organs. The disease is caused by an unclassified virus of various types, which are oval, round or rod-shaped.

The size of the virus is 8-130 nm. It decomposes instantly when boiled, disinfectant solutions neutralize it after 10 minutes, sunlight destroys it after 4-8 hours. When frozen, it lasts up to 2 years.

The disease usually affects horses 2-12 years of age. The incubation period is from 2 weeks to 1.5 months. Infection occurs from sick animals, the spread of the disease are mosquitoes, ticks, rodents, forest birds. IEL can break out in the same area over several seasons. It develops more often in spring and summer, it is noted in farms located in swampy areas, in floodplain and low-lying areas. Animals that are constantly in stalls are less likely to get sick.

Symptoms and clinical signs

Once in the body, the virus causes inflammation of the cortex and subcortical layers of the brain, disruption of metabolic processes. The liver is particularly affected.

The disease proceeds in a violent, quiet and latent form. In the exuberant variety, the horse breaks off the leash, falls or lies on its side. Throws back his head, can injure himself. Reflexes weaken, then their complete absence is observed. Horses do not respond to pain (pricks in the tail area). Animals go blind, urinary retention is noted. Animals lie down, periodically making "swimming" movements with their feet. Then convulsions begin, the animal throws back its head, suffers from profuse sweating, falls into a coma and dies. The sclera of the eyes and tissues turn yellow, laboratory tests indicate a sharp increase in bilirubin in the blood and the value of ESR.

In the early stages of infection, a slight increase in temperature is observed, then it subsides. With a quiet form of IEL development, the animal stands with its head lowered, has a wobbly gait, remains on its feet with difficulty, and often lies on its side. The animal closes its eyes and lowers its ears. Most often, he has an alternation of bouts of excitement and apathy.

The latent form is manifested by a decrease in appetite, the appearance of edema in the abdomen and head, a slight increase in temperature, and an icteric tinge. In the absence of timely treatment, the disease takes on a severe form. With the violent form of the disease, the mortality rate exceeds 80%, with the quiet form it is about 50%.

Diagnostic methods

When the first symptoms appear, you should contact your veterinarian. The diagnosis is made on the basis of laboratory tests. When diagnosing, the disease should be excluded from rabies, borne disease, botulism, Aujeszky's disease.

Horse treatment methods

There is no antiviral drug. When the first signs of the disease appear, the animal is isolated in an individual shaded pen with a thick bedding. Glucose and saline solution, urotropine solution (10% concentration) are injected intravenously, large volumes of specific serum are used. For the treatment of animals use:

  • hyperimmune serum;
  • saline;
  • cardiovascular medications;
  • antibiotics.

Antibiotics do not kill the virus, but they prevent the development of a secondary infection. To increase efficiency, the gastrointestinal tract is cleaned. Do cleansing enemas, give Glauber's salt. The animals are provided with the best living conditions. Horses that recover from the disease develop strong immunity to the disease.


The main method of prevention is animal vaccination. To eliminate foci of infection, the swamps are drained, the grazing areas are treated with insecticides and repellents. During the period of the greatest activity of mosquitoes and ticks, the herd is not driven out to pasture. Stable windows should be covered with nets.

A balanced diet and good living conditions prevent infectious equine encephalomyelitis, reduce the likelihood of infection and facilitate the course of the disease.

If an infection is detected on the farm, quarantine is introduced. Sick animals are isolated, corrals, leash are treated with a solution of "Whiteness", 1% formalin solution, 3% creolin solution. They clean the stables, the area around, the road to the watering hole. The export of animals and feed from the farm is prohibited. The quarantine is lifted 40 days after the recovery or death of the last sick animal recorded.

Watch the video: Equine Infectious Anemia. Coggins Test. Versatile Horsemanship (November 2022).