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Leporine Dysautonomia

By

Caroline N. Hahn

, DVM, MSc, PhD, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh

Last full review/revision Jan 2020 | Content last modified Feb 2020
Topic Resources

The dysautonomias are a group of diseases with strikingly similar clinical and pathologic signs reported in a number of unrelated species, including horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, and hares. The disease is characterized by the degeneration of neurons in autonomic ganglia and clinical signs of autonomic nervous system dysfunction. The etiology is unknown in all species, and there is no effective treatment.

Leporine dysautonomia occurs in rabbits and wild hares, and fatal cases have been reported in the UK. Gross lesions are similar to those of equine dysautonomia Equine Dysautonomia Equine dysautonomia (grass sickness) is a disease characterized by degeneration of autonomic neurons in the brain, ganglia, and enteric nervous system. Clinical signs include GI hypomotility... read more Equine Dysautonomia , including gastric distention, colonic impaction, and weight loss. Histopathologic changes in the central and peripheral nervous systems are almost identical to those found in horses, cats, and dogs.

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A horse is found stuck, lying down, with a halter on, in its stall with its feet up against a wall. The owner helps the horse to a standing position and then notices that the horse’s face is asymmetric. The lips and nostrils and eyelid on the same side are drooping. What is the most likely cause of this condition?
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