What is Dourine? 

Dourine, also known as the covering sickness, is a parasitic venereal disease of equines caused by the flagellate protozoan Typanosoma equiperdum. This disease gets its name of covering sickness from the fact that it is spread during breeding. The disease is often fatal. Dourine is not endemic in the United States. Quarantine and a negative test are required for importation into the US. 

Clinical Signs: The severity and duration vary and are manifest by the following signs.

  • Fever
  • Local oedema of the genitival and mammary glands
  • Raised skin plaques (silver dollar plaques)
  • Knuckling of joints 
  • Ocular lesions 
  • Anemia 
  • Progressive weight loss and emaciation
  • Nervous form may set in after emaciation and lead to weakness and staggering movement
  • The chronic form may persist for several years

Diagnosis: Dourine is usually diagnosed by serology combined with clinical signs, supported by evidence from histopathology and epidemiology evidence of non-insect mediated transmission. Dourine can also be diagnosed by identification of the parasite,which is extremely difficult to find.

Treatment: Treatment may be possible in endemic areas; however, it is still uncertain whether trypanosomal drugs can completely eliminate this parasite. 

Prevention: Euthanasia with careful disposal of affected animals.