UC Davis Offers EPM Assistance

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 may be suffering from the debilitating neurologic disease.

Credit: UC Davis EPM is a neurologic disease.

Diagnosing equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) can be a challenge, involving a detailed history, physical exam and neurological assessment of the horse. To assist veterinarians, the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis has created resources to help veterinarians recognize this debilitating neurologic disease. 

“We discussed our EPM research and clinical activities extensively at last year’s American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention,” said Dr. Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, chief of UC Davis’ Equine Medicine Service. “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 the multitude of requests, UC Davis has developed a website full of resources for veterinarians who suspect their patients may have EPM. The site includes:

• Diagnostic flow chart which walks veterinarians through several steps, ultimately to a positive or negative outcome

• Detailed procedure for performing a neurologic examination

• Videos showing differing levels of neurologic horses

• EPM laboratory testing available at UC Davis

• Research study conducted by UC Davis outlining the prevalence of EPM throughout the United States 

After obtaining more than 3,000 diagnostic submissions from across the United States, 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, and believe they will find even more evidence of the disease spreading to previously unsuspected parts of the country.

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