For the horse owner, EPM or Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is one of the most frightening diseases. There is no vaccine, and if EPM is not caught in the very early stages, the chances of a full recovery are not good. The symtoms of EPM can look like other neurological diseases, and can start with something as 'insignificant' as stumbling, that could be blamed on other problems that are less innocuous. That's why it is important to learn what the indicators are, so if a horse has any of the symptoms, a diagnoses of EPM won't be overlooked.
2. Meet the Culprit - Opossums
Opossums may be regarded as cute, spirit guides or pests. For a horse owner opossums can spell bad news. The first time I saw a live opossum, it was a 'what the....' moment. I was driving on a highway at night and a small animal crossed in front of me, back lit by the headlights of an oncoming car. Its silhouette was very different from a raccoon, as was its funny little trot. Not sure what an opossum looks like? Check out this gallery on About.com Exotic Pets of opossums. There are various types of opossums, but only one type lives in North America. Short tailed opossums are from South America. From information online I learned that all can carry the protozoa responsible for EPM.
This page has links to resources like DVDs, books and online information and support to help you learn about EPM. Be sure your veterinarian is the first person you consult if you suspect EPM. Don't wait for someone to return an email or respond on a forum. The faster a veterinarian can determine if your horse has EPM and begin treatment, the less lasting damage the protozoa will do.