Dourine is caused by infection with Trypanosoma (T.) equiperdum, a unicellular parasite. It is a classic mating disease, with transmission from stallion to mare being the most common. However, transmission from mare to stallion is also possible. Transmission from mares to foals at birth (via mucous membranes) is rather rare.
Horses that are infected with dourine may not be used for breeding. Mares are excluded from breeding and must therefore be marked with the letters B.K. on the left side of the neck, stallions must be castrated.
There are three stages of intermittent fever:
- In the first stage, there is inflammation of the external genital organs with swelling, redness, pustules, vesicles, ulcers, spots due to loss of pigment in the mucous membrane ("toad spots") and mucous discharge.
- In the second stage, there is local swelling of the skin. After healing, unpigmented spots appear ("valley spots")
- In the third stage, movement disorders (especially of the rear extremities), nerve paralysis, weight loss, emaciation and anaemia occur.
Dourine is a notifiable animal disease. Control of dourine is based on preventing the introduction and spread of the disease.
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