This is a specific contagious disease which, like rabies, is communicated only by contact of the virus with an abraded or broken surface. Whether occurring in the male or female horse, it primarily affects the external organs of reproduction, viz. the penis in the male and the vaginal passage in the female. (See Plate XXXV.)
In consequence of this, and the frequency with which it is transmitted from one to the other during the act of copulation, it has been distinguished as "Maladie du Coit", or Covering Disease. Some distinguished veterinary authorities in France and elsewhere have regarded it as identical with syphilis of man, but there is no real evidence upon which to base such a conclusion. It must be admitted that there are in both certain common features, as there are in other specific affections, but the points of divergence are too many and too decided to allow us to assent to the doctrine of unity, for which Bouley, Trasbot, and some other Continental pathologists are responsible. For the same reasons we dissent from the view that it is identical with glanders.
Dourine has appeared as an epizootic in Russia, France, Austria, Switzer-land, and other parts of the Continent from time to time during the past century, with disastrous results to the breeding-stock of those countries, but we are not aware of its having occurred in any part of Great Britain.