This disease is specific to equids and develops
generally in a benign way with the symptoms of influenza. The infection
is dreaded in the equids's breeding areas because it releases an
The infected stallions can excrete the virus in their sperm over
many years even their whole life.
In France the rate of infected equids is estimated at 2%.
The mode of transmission for arthritis is the infectious sperm,
or direct contact or aerogene. Blood, urine, faeces, lachrymal and
vaginal secretions also contribute to the propagation of the disease.
The infected stallions play a central epidemiologic part, as virus
stock; as they can excrete the virus during a very long time, the
stallions used for artificial insemination must be particularly
In the majority of the cases, the donkey infected by the virus
will not present any symptoms, and only the examinations in laboratories
can diagnose the disease.
When the animals are more fragile (ex: age), or original cell is
stronger, certain clinical signs can appear, sometimes resulting
in death for the oldest animals or very young foals:
- strong fever over several days
- intense tiredness
- loss of appetite
- oedemas on the hind limbs, around the eyes and on the abdomen
- nasal secretions and/or eyes, conjunctivitis, rhinitis
But the most serious consequence of this disease is that it can
involve an abortion of the foal (between 10% and 70% cases). If
the infection takes place at the end of the gestation, the foal
develops an acute respiratory form of the disease.
The stallions having contracted the disease can excrete the virus
in their sperm over weeks, even years, and thus contaminate the
mare during the covering.
There are no specific treatments for this disease,
apart from the treatments which must be applied according to the
The prevention and the isolation of the sick animals can help to
avoid the infection propagation.