Merck Animal Health and expert veterinarians agree diagnosing EPM can be difficult, but is money and time well-spent.
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) is one of the most feared diseases among horse owners. So feared, that owners might be tempted to request their veterinarian treat their horse for EPM without proper diagnostic measures. While early treatment is critical to stopping the disease from causing further nerve damage, if the horse does not have EPM an EPM treatment product will not be effective.
Amy Johnson, D.V.M., Dipl. ACVIM, assistant professor of large animal medicine and neurology at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania, says treating EPM without a diagnosis can cost owners money and time.
"Many diseases can cause signs similar to EPM, but will not respond to EPM treatment. If the horse is treated for EPM, but actually has another disease, the owners have not only wasted their money, but also time that could have been better used pursuing the true cause of the horse's problem," Dr. Johnson says.
Stephen Reed, D.V.M., Dipl. ACVIM, internal medicine veterinarian at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., agrees with Dr. Johnson.
"Signs of EPM can vary from neurologic to a mysterious lameness, so a thorough diagnostic work-up is really critical to make sure we are treating the horse appropriately and thus, improving his chances of recovering," Dr. Reed says.
Diagnosis can be difficult, but should be done
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