Italian Dourine Outbreak Continues

World animal health officials are monitoring the spread of an outbreak of the equine venereal disease dourine currently ongoing in Italy. The outbreak began in late May, according to a report from the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID).

Six horses have now tested positive for the disease in two different locations in Italy. Initially confined to the island of Sicily, the disease was also detected on the Italian mainland. One horse was euthanized as a result of the disease. A total of 20 horses between the two locations are thought to be at risk of contracting dourine.

The WAHID indicated that all affected horses are currently under quarantine and movement restrictions have been implemented in the surrounding areas.

Not a disease present in the United States, 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.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, News Editor, 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 three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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