Epizootic Lymphangitis: A Working Equid Disease

Epizootic lymphangitis (EZL) causes skin and eye lesions and loss of use in working horses and donkeys.

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EZL has a significant welfare impact on working equids and has economic importance to many resource-poor owners with inadequate access to animal health services who rely on animals for their livelihoods. | Photo: Stephanie L. Church/The Horse

Equine researchers in the U.K. hope to define better the transmission methods of a fungal disease, called epizootic lymphangitis (EZL), that causes painful skin and eye lesions and leads to lameness and loss of use in working horses and donkeys throughout the developing world.

Gina Pinchbeck, BVSc, Cert. ES, PhD, Dipl. ECVPH, MRCVS, senior lecturer in veterinary epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, in the U.K., and her colleagues are currently studying EZL. She presented what they have learned about the disease at the first Havemeyer International Workshop on Infectious Diseases of Working Donkeys, held Nov. 19-21, 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

There are three forms of the disease, which is caused by a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum var. farciminosum—cutaneous (skin), ocular, and respiratory. She explained that a cutaneous EZL case starts as a single nodule that erupts. The infection travels though the lymphatics, causing swelling of the limbs and nodules elsewhere on the body

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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