African Horse Sickness

African horse sickness is an infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys and causes the death of a lot of animals. Although called African horse sickness it is also found in Asia.

This is a disease which is spread by mosquitoes and affects mules, horses and donkeys. The signs of the disease can vary as there are a number of different germs which cause it.

The first sign of the disease is a fever with the temperature reaching 41 °C. The disease may then affect the heart, lungs or both the heart and lungs depending on which germs are causing the infection.

An animal infected with the lung form of the disease coughs and shows difficulty in breathing, but the main sign that the infection is African horse sickness is the production of a lot of yellow discharge from the nostrils. The infected animal will soon die.

The animal which is infected with the heart form of the disease has red swollen eyes. The head and neck region also becomes swollen and there is a blood spot under the tongue. Animals infected with this form may die or recover within 2 weeks of showing the first signs of the disease.

Animals infected with the heart and lung form suffer from swelling of the eyes, head and neck as well as the heavy discharge from the nose. Some may survive.

Precautions against African horse sickness

There is no treatment for this disease. Vaccination is recommended but the pregnant animal must not be vaccinated. If there are equines in your community talk to your veterinarian and arrange for them to be vaccinated. Remember that this disease kills and can quickly spread through all the equines in your community if they are not vaccinated.