Central neuropathology of equine grass sickness

C N Hahn, I G Mayhew, A de Lahunta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Equine grass sickness (EGS) is an acquired disease of unknown aetiology affecting horses kept at grass. The disease is characterised by postganglionic sympathetic and parasympathetic neuronal pathology and is categorised as a dysautonomia. This study undertook a systematic examination of brain stem cranial nerve nuclei in 59 cases of EGS. Pathology consisting of neuronal chromatolysis was most consistently noted in the lower motor neurons of the general visceral efferent nucleus of CN III and X and the general somatic efferent nuclei of CN III, V, VII and XII. The prevalence of chromatolysis differed significantly between the diagnostic categories and was inversely related to the age of the animal. Duration of disease had a small but significant negative effect on the proportion of nuclei with chromatolytic neurons in chronic cases. The distribution of chromatolytic neurons is unlike that reported in any other equine or human disease; however, it appears to be equivalent to that in other animals with primary dysautonomias. EGS should be classified as a multisystem disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-9
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Age Factors
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases
  • Brain Stem
  • Cell Count
  • Cranial Nerves
  • Horse Diseases
  • Horses
  • Linear Models
  • Motor Neuron Disease
  • Motor Neurons
  • Plant Poisoning
  • Poaceae
  • Reticular Formation


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