EPM- Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis.
EPM is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It’s caused by the microbe, Sarcocystis neurona, commonly found in the opossum. Research in other states suggests that about 10 to 33 percent of opossums are infected with the microbe in Michigan and Missouri. Horses that come in contact with infected opossum feces can develop neurologic disease.
Whilst EPM is more predominantly found in horses in the United States, there have of recent been cases found in Europe. There are different species of Sarcocystis one found in one Irish horse in 2020.
There are so many environmental illness becoming evident especially over the past decade, due to so many different toxins from air, water sources, feed and nutritional imbalances.
Thyroid function especially horses with Hypothyroid are more at risk of developing EPM and a lot of other autoimmune disorders, chronic stealth infections. These predominantly common environmental factors are leaving the door wide open for horses as they become so immunocompromised and vulnerable to attack from so many different Microfilarial parasites, Protozoal and zoonotic diseases.
Most horses presenting with Lyme disease also have underlying EPM, even though they may not be symptomatic.
Symptoms associated with EPM
• Hypersensitivity-sensitivity to noise, touch, tremors.
• Wormy, pot belly appearance, gastric and/or colonic ulcers
• Laminitis or chronic inflammatory conditions of the feet, poor hoof growth
• Moving short strided, especially in the rear
• Low stamina, weakness
• Adverse reactions to wormers or vaccinations
• Chronic allergies
• Unusual sensitivity at the girth
• Stiffness in the rear, most often the right hind
• Tightness in the muscles inside the upper legs and groin, causing a cow-hocked or knock-kneed appearance, splayed-out or toed-out feet especially hind feet
• Reluctance to pick feet up
• Hopping, changing leads at the canter, tripping
• Lameness most noticeable at the walk and the canter
• muscle spasms
• Toe dragging, landing more on toe, toe stabbing
• Right hind swings out
What is the best treatment for EPM/Environmental diseases.
- Feeding good quality food that is not processed, Non GMO.
- Providing balanced USB graded Chelated minerals, vitamins, amino acids
- Avoid all Alfalfa, hay cubes.
- Feed grass hay only
- Deworming regularly (every three months)
- Chinese herbal medicine is the most successful in the treatment of acute or chronic EPM