This is an often fatal neurologic disease that results when a horse ingests corn that contains molds producing the potent toxin fumonisin. This toxin cause damage or death to living tissue (necrosis) in the brain and sometimes the liver. Horses usually only show signs of neurologic disease after eating corn containing fumonisin over a period of 2-9 weeks.
Keep in mind that this disease may be indistinguishable from rabies. Handle horses showing signs of neurologic disease only under your vet’s guidance.
Diagnosis requires a compatible history of consumption of infected corn coupled with signs of severe brain disease. Often, more than one horse in a group is affected. Feed toxicologic analysis typically shows that corn contains a significant level of the fumonisin toxin. Post-mortem examination of horses shows destruction (liquefaction of white matter) of a specific area of the brain.
There is no treatment, although supportive nursing care is often instituted.
Other Diagnoses Considered
Treatments May Include
Prognosis & Relevant Factors
Grave. Once signs start, there is already destruction of the white matter of the brain. There is no known treatment, and recovery is rare.
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