Diseases of the Nervous System

Chapter 55 Diseases of the Nervous System

Nervous system diseases have a large impact on the equine industry. Neurologic diseases can progress from fairly minor (alteration in gait and performance) to very serious (inability to rise and death). Effects of nervous system diseases can be brought about by trauma to nerves, inflammation around nerves, or alterations in neurotransmitters. In most instances, there is no specific treatment for a nervous system disorder, and good nursing care is all that can be done. Fortunately, many neurologic diseases can be prevented by vaccination.


Rabies is a zoonotic disease with the greatest public health implications. Most states have laws mandating the vaccination of dogs and cats, and some mandate the vaccination of horses; the vaccine is available only through licensed veterinarians. Even if not dictated by state laws, it is advisable to have yearly rabies vaccination given to horses. Any animal that is showing neurological signs, especially if there is a known history of having been bitten by another animal, should be suspected of having rabies.

The infectious agent is a Lyssavirus. An infected animal, usually a raccoon, skunk, fox, or bat, bites the victim and passes the virus in the saliva. The virus migrates through body and the nervous system and localizes in the central nervous system. The virus may affect the cerebrum, brainstem, or spinal cord.

Aug 31, 2016 | Posted by in GENERAL | Comments Off on Diseases of the Nervous System
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