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Discuss 2 Horses have died in area due to possum manure! at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

Recently 2 horses have died because of a virus or bacteria that comes from possum ...
  1. #1
    Full Member gidupngogirl's Avatar
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    2 Horses have died in area due to possum manure!

    Recently 2 horses have died because of a virus or bacteria that comes from possum manure. The horses were from 2 different places. My Dad is concerned about my horses. Have you ever of this. I have one horse on a pasture/lot, which was and is always for the horses, minimal cattle usage. I have my other horse in a cattle lot, the cattle were taken out in late spring and weeds and grasses have grown in the lot so she hasn't been kept in just dirt. I'm not too worried but maybe I should be. I was wanting to know if anyone else had ever heard of that and if they could enlighten me a little more.
    Not all Girls are created equal...only the finest become Cowgirls.

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    Google EPM... this is the disease you are talking about... there is treatment.
    In my experience, the best way to slow down a runaway horse is to bet on it...

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    It doesn't matter how high you are on the food chain, once you inflict pain you FAIL AS A HORSEMAN.

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    EPM is a disease caused by a protozoal parasite that is found in possum feces (and a few others). While this disease is scary and many horses get exposed to the parasite, less than 1% of those exposed will come down with the disease. And the disease itself is far from fatal.....most horses recover with appropriate treatment. Few horses just flat out die from EPM.

    The big thing to remember is it's not really as common as people believe and it's quite often a misdiagnosis or no more than a guess when EPM is named as the cause of neurological deficits.

    I would not be too worried. I've lived in possum country all my life and have had several horses at a time for more than 30 years and no EPM.
    Cindy D.
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    Senior Member Savy's Avatar
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    a horse around here got bit by a possum. i don't think it died, but i know it got really sick. that's why i make an effort to kill every possum i catch.

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    Full Member gidupngogirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryle View Post
    EPM is a disease caused by a protozoal parasite that is found in possum feces (and a few others). While this disease is scary and many horses get exposed to the parasite, less than 1% of those exposed will come down with the disease. And the disease itself is far from fatal.....most horses recover with appropriate treatment. Few horses just flat out die from EPM.

    The big thing to remember is it's not really as common as people believe and it's quite often a misdiagnosis or no more than a guess when EPM is named as the cause of neurological deficits.

    I would not be too worried. I've lived in possum country all my life and have had several horses at a time for more than 30 years and no EPM.
    I don't understand if horses rarely get this and die from it what did these horses have? Or could it be that these 2 horses are the less than 1%?
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    The horses could have been in the less than 1%, but it's more likely that they had one of the other neurological diseases that has a higher mortality rate. Do you happen to know how they were diagnosed--like what testing was done?
    Cindy D.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician, TX
    Member American Assoc. of Equine Veterinary Technicians

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    Senior Member+ Mare's Avatar
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    Glad we dont have them critters here.

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    Full Member gidupngogirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryle View Post
    The horses could have been in the less than 1%, but it's more likely that they had one of the other neurological diseases that has a higher mortality rate. Do you happen to know how they were diagnosed--like what testing was done?
    The guys Mom came over and told my Dad about it. They just told him it was because of opossum manure in the ground, and my Dad told me that they were keeping this horse in a small area and that there was no ground cover, like grass, it was just exposed dirt. He thought that the horse starved to death or wasn't getting adequate food, of course that is his observation based on what we feed our horses, which is really good clover hay, oats, and minerals when needed, they also have there pasture. I don't know why I'm going on and on..anyways the horse was on the ground, my nieghbor who is a horse vet was called to the other nieghbors house, they had the option of sending the horse to K-State which would have cost them $1200 but in the end they just had the horse put down, the other horse that died I have absolutely no idea what happend but to me it sounded like it was something similar.
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  10. #10
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    "Sounding like" & actually being the same thing can be two very different things in medicine. And what something looks like with limited examination and/or diagnostics and what it is can be vastly different too. It sounds like EPM was a guess just due to the horse being down, but any number of things can end up with a downed horse.

    Basically what I'm saying is I wouldn't put too much faith in this being EPM. If they didn't feed their horse, you can bet they didn't vaccinate their horse and the risk of getting one of the other encephalytic diseases like EEE, WEE, WNV, etc is much more likely.
    Cindy D.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician, TX
    Member American Assoc. of Equine Veterinary Technicians

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