Dourine: how to spot and report the disease

How to spot dourine, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.

Dourine affects horses, donkeys, mules, zebras and other members of the equid family.

It doesn’t affect humans.

There has never been a known case of dourine in Great Britain.

Dourine is a notifiable disease. That means if you suspect it you must tell the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot dourine

The main clinical signs are:

  • fever
  • swelling of genital areas or udders and the surrounding skin
  • fluid discharge from genitals (in mares)
  • lesions or damage to the skin
  • stiffness and weakness
  • lack of coordination
  • inability to move

Dourine is often fatal, although some animals show no signs and recover from the disease.

How dourine spreads

Dourine spreads through sexual contact.

The disease is caused by a parasite which cannot survive outside the animal’s body. The parasite dies quickly in the carcass of affected animals.

Preventing and controlling dourine

You can help prevent dourine by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of dourine, APHA vets will investigate.

If dourine is confirmed, the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.

Further information on prevention and control

Controls to prevent disease

What happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed

Legislation relating to dourine

The main legislation relating to the control of Dourine is the Infectious Diseases of Horses Order 1987.

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 1 October 2014 + show all updates
  1. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
  2. First published.