Veterinary Record 170:75 doi:10.1136/vr.100141
  • Research
  • Paper

Outbreaks of equine grass sickness in Hungary

  1. R. van den Hoven, DVM, PhD, DipECEIM1
  1. Equine Clinic, Section Internal Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz, 1 1210, Wien, Austria
  2. Institute of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1 1210 Wien, Austria
  3. Neuromuscular Disease Laboratory, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence{at}

Equine grass sickness (EGS) occurs mainly in Great Britain, but has once been reported in Hungary. The stud which was affected by EGS in 2001 had no new cases until 2009/10, when 11 of 60 and five of 12 one- to three-year-old colts died or were euthanased due to EGS. Following a few hours in the high-risk field during the winter of 2010/11 further four cases of acute EGS were noted among these horses. The affected horses showed somewhat different clinical signs compared with the cases reported in Great Britain. Histopathological findings in these horses were consistent with EGS. In most examined cases carbofuran, a carbamate was found in the liver by toxicological examination, and it is postulated that carbofuran may influence the immune system and therefore predispose the horses to develop EGS. Carbamates are thought to cause a delayed neurotoxicity in human beings. Further studies are needed to clarify the potential role of carbamates in EGS.


  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

  • Accepted June 10, 2011.
  • Published Online First 27 November 2011

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