To confirm a diagnosis of EPM, your veterinarian must order a blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis. This requires a needle to be inserted into the horse’s spinal canal. There are potential risks involved with this procedure. A positive result from the blood test means that the horse was exposed to the parasite, but does not confirm the clinical disease, nor does it mean the disease will develop later on. False positives on the CSF tests may occur if the sample comes in contact with blood at the time of extraction. It is important for your veterinarian to evaluate tests results alongside physical and neurological exams.

Early treatment drastically increases a horse’s chance at recovery. Many horses that undergo aggressive treatment return to normal activities and reverse some or all of their symptoms. Treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Antioxidant supplements
  • Prescription medications

Treatments can be expensive, and it is important to monitor your horse for any signs of improvement or decline, including side effects from drugs. All changes should be reported to your veterinarian immediately.