UC Davis provides veterinarians with resources for EPM


Flow chart, videos and more available to practitioners online.

A horse with EPM displaying neurologic clinical signs. Photo courtesy of UC Davis.While it may not seem difficult to visually identify a horse experiencing neurologic problems, diagnosing equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) can be a detailed process of evaluating the history and performing both physical examination and neurological examination of the horse. To assist veterinarians in diagnosing EPM, the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California-Davis has created several resources that will help trained equine veterinarians determine if their patients are suffering from this debilitating neurologic disease.

“We discussed our EPM research and clinical activities extensively at last year's American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention,” says Dr. Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, chief of UC Davis' Equine Medicine Service, in a university release. “What we discovered was that many veterinarians wanted assistance in properly diagnosing the disease, as it can be masked as many other possible conditions.”

In response to these requests, UC Davis has developed a website with resources for veterinarians who suspect their patients may have EPM. The site (see vetmed.ucdavis.edu) includes:

> A diagnostic flow chart that walks veterinarians through several steps, ultimately to a positive or negative outcome

> A detailed procedure for performing a neurologic examination

> Videos showing differing levels of neurologic problems in horses

> EPM laboratory testing available at UC Davis

> A research study outlining the prevalence of EPM throughout the United States.

After obtaining more than 3,000 diagnostic submissions, UC Davis determined that horses from 42 states were affected by parasites causing EPM. Originally believed to be a regionalized disease, EPM has proven to be far more widespread than first thought. UC Davis researchers are extending that study, believing they will find evidence of the disease spreading.

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