The Disease

Dourine, also known as maladie du coit or genital glanders, is caused by the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma equiperdum and is a serious, often chronic, venereally transmitted disease of horses and other equids. Once widespread, dourine has been eradicated from many countries but is still seen in horses in Asia, Africa, South America, southern and eastern Europe, Mexico and Russia. It was reported in June 2011 in Sicily and then just north of Naples, on the Italian mainland. There was evidence based on subsequent testing of blood samples collected in 2010 of subclinical seropositivity to dourine in many regions of Italy. There is currently no proven long term cure for dourine and so euthanasia is considered the best policy, on grounds of equine health, welfare, and disease control.