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Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM

Learn About EPM or Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis in Horses


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.

1. Profile of EPM or Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis

2006 K. Blocksdorf

Here is a basic profile of EPM or Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis. Learn what causes EPM, what the symptoms are and how it is treated.

2. Meet the Culprit - Opossums

Opossum on fence
Photo: 2010 linder6580-stock.xchng

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.

3. EPM Resources and Support

2009 K. Blocksdorf

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.

4. Video of EPM Horses

Photo: 2007 K. Blocksdorf

When I first began to learn about EPM, I wanted to know what the symptoms looked like. Here are links to videos of horses showing symptoms of EPM.

5. EPM Frequently Asked Questions

Photo: 2007 K. Blocksdorf

Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions. If there is something not covered here, you are welcome to contact me. You can also join the forum, and learn what other horse owners are thinking and in some cases, have experienced.

6. EPM Terminology

2006 K. Blocksdorf

Dealing with EPM means you will be talking with clinicians and veterinarians. These definitions will help you understand the terminology that these professionals may use when discussing a horse with EPM.

7. Take the EPM Quiz

Image: 2005 K. Blocksdorf

How much do you know about Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis? Try this quiz and find out.

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