Animal Health Officials Monitoring Dourine in Italy

World animal health officials are investigating two confirmed cases of the equine venereal disease dourine

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World animal health officials are investigating two confirmed cases of the equine venereal disease dourine reported in Italy. According to a report from the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID), the last confirmed case of dourine was detected in 1996.

Dourine is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma equiperdum and prompts affected horses to display such clinical signs as paralysis, genital swelling, the development of plaque on the skin, emaciation, and neurologic deficits. There is currently no vaccine available, treatment options are limited, and the mortality rate associated with the disease is high. Dourine is a foreign animal disease in the United States.

In the current outbreak two horses have been confirmed positive through laboratory diagnostic tests, and eight are classified as susceptible. The WAHID report indicated that the affected horses are under quarantine. At present, the source of the outbreak remains unclear; however, animal health officials are still investigating the cause.

In a preliminary outbreak assessment Great Britain’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reported that one of the dourine-positive horses was euthanized while the other remains under quarantine

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Written by:

Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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