Equine Infectious Anemia: Horse in Michigan Tests Positive for Fly-Borne Disease

Officials with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today confirmed Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) in a 17-year old grade mare from Mecosta County.

Every horse needs its own Coggins Test for EIA done annually or more frequently, according to the state regulations of the state where it lives–or might visit. (Thomas Levinson photo)

EIA is an infectious virus spread between equidae (horses, asses, jacks, jennies, hinnies, mules, donkeys, burros, ponies, and zebras) by deer and horse flies. EIA can cause severe illness, including fever, anemia, swelling, lethargy, and death. EIA can also be spread through repeat use of needles or through other acts where blood is exchanged from one equine to another.

“This is the first case of EIA in Michigan since 2008,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead. “MDARD is investigating the case to identify other horses that may have been exposed to the positive horse or may have caused the exposure. Any such horses will be quarantined on their farms and tested for EIA by a regulatory veterinarian.”

To protect all Michigan equidae, MDARD requires a negative test for EIA within the last 12 months prior to movement, in order to travel to a public event (fairs, expositions, exhibitions), auction markets, or traveling as part of sale to a new owner.
“Because there are no effective and safe vaccines, nor can infection be treated, Michigan law established a control program requiring owners of equines attending commingling events, or changing ownership and housing location, to have proof of a negative EIA test,” said Halstead.

Additionally, to import equidae into Michigan, the equidae must:

1. Test negative to an official test for equine infectious anemia (EIA) within 12 months prior to importation, except equidae that are both 6 months or younger and nursing.
2. Be accompanied by an official interstate health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection documenting the date, laboratory, accession number, and results of the latest equine infectious anemia test, signed by an accredited veterinarian.

Act No. 466, Public Acts of 1988, as amended, the Animal Industry Act, Section 19 (9) (MCL 287.719) gives the director of the department of agriculture the authority to institute this requirement.

Complete importation requirements for equidae and other animals can be found at www.michigan.gov/mda, by selecting “Bringing Animals into Michigan.”

To learn more:

Twin Pines Equine background article on Coggins Test and EIA

Central Georgia Veterinary Services article on photos for Coggins Test

2011 EIA-infected herd of horses in Arkansas

2011 EIA in Missouri

Three EIA-positive horses in Indiana in 2008

This article was provided as a press release, which was edited for The Jurga Report




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