Prevention

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Prevention

There is no vaccine available for dourine. As dourine is primarily a venereal disease, prevention of natural mating or AI with infected horses (stallions or mares) or infected stallion semen is the most important means of control. Prevention of dourine is therefore based on the establishment of freedom from infection and this is done by testing blood for the presence of antibodies against T. equiperdum, which is more reliable than testing for the presence of the protozoan parasite itself.

Any introductions of horses from endemic areas or areas of incursion should be isolated and blood tested for antibodies by complement fixation test (CFT). Horses in isolation must not be allowed to mate and semen must not be collected or used for AI until negative dourine test results are confirmed. Any seropositive results, or any horses showing clinical signs of dourine should be reported as required by national law (Defra in the UK) and will then be dealt with under official supervision. Dourine should be eradicated from an incursion into a non-endemic area by identification of the source, thorough tracing and testing of all incontacts and euthanasia of infected and seropositive horses.

Stallions or mares should not leave endemic areas or areas of incursion without veterinary confirmation that:

  • The horse(s) has/have not been in contact with cases of dourine.
  • The horse(s) is/are healthy and show(s) no clinical signs of dourine, prior to leaving.
  • Negative CFT blood sample result(s) for dourine, performed by an authorised laboratory, collected within one month of leaving, are certified.

On arrival in an area where dourine does not occur, these stallion(s) or mare(s) should be isolated until repeat negative CFT blood sample result(s) for dourine, performed by an authorised laboratory, collected 10-14 days after arrival, has been obtained. Under no circumstances should the stallion(s) or mare(s) involved be mated and no semen should be collected and used for AI purposes before this reassurance has been obtained.