Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) and West Nile virus (WNV) – two diagnoses veterinarians don’t want to give and horse owners dread hearing. To help horse owners in the United States stay up-to-date on the latest information regarding these devastating diseases, Merck Animal Health has developed two new comprehensive websites.
EPM is a progressive and potentially fatal infection of the central nervous system, which is caused by the single-celled protozoal microorganism, Sarcocystis neurona (S. neurona). Because the disease is progressive, early detection and veterinary intervention are critical to the horse’s chance of recovery.
Protazil.com offers a centralized location for horse owners to research EPM and learn to recognize the early onset of the disease. The website provides owners with a variety of information, including up-to-date disease information, news and events surrounding EPM, management strategies to aid in prevention of EPM and treatment options to discuss with their veterinarian.
“EPM can cause irreversible damage to the horse’s brain or spinal cord and is more likely to cause permanent damage if the disease is not detected early,” said Wendy Vaala, V.M.D., Dipl. ACVIM, senior equine technical services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health. “Although EPM only affects less than 1 percent of horses, it is critical that owners know what to do, just in case. Owners can increase their horse’s chance of a full recovery by talking to their veterinarian and educating themselves through websites like Protazil.com.”
Though less evasive than EPM, West Nile virus infection is still a threat in the United States. Westnileequinevaccines.com provides horse owners with many educational resources on WNV, as well as information on vaccines that aid in helping prevent this disease.
“We see cases of West Nile virus in horses every year in the United States,” said Craig Barnett, D.V.M., senior equine technical services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health. “West Nile is still a threat to our horses and it is important for owners to understand the disease and, more importantly, understand the need for prevention.”
In addition to providing horse owners with information on WNV, westnileequinevaccines.com also includes information on vaccinations and other important equine diseases like Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, rabies, tetanus, equine influenza and equine herpesvirus.