Thursday, May 26, 2016
This 'n That Thursdays: Possums, Protozoa, and Daisy
If I skip some posts over the next few weeks, it is because my miniature donkey, Daisy, is being treated for EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis). As the name implies, it is a protozoal infection, usually spread to equids via inadvertent ingestion of the droppings of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). EPM is the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in horses, and can be found throughout North and South America. Since equids are not the intended host, they cannot spread the infection, but the effects of this disease on the host can be devastating.
We think that Daisy may have had the infection for a while, possibly a few months, but showed only very vague and mild symptoms until recently, which is not unusual for this disease. She has definite neurological symptoms now, which is not good, but she is showing some response to a combination of anti-protozoal and anti-inflammatory drugs. The treatment takes a long time to work, and she may never recover completely, but we hope that she gets well enough to be able to function without risk of injury to herself. She had a rather bad day yesterday but is still willing to eat and drink, so her treatment will continue unless her condition worsens. All we can do is wait and hope for the best. Please send healing vibes her way. I will provide updates on her condition when appropriate, and will try to continue normal posting to my blog if possible.