The Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System has reported that one horse tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA) on June 23 in Perdue No. 346, Saskatchewan. The mare’s owners requested testing before she was set to be bred. The veterinarian did not note any clinical signs of EIA, despite the positive test result.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) is investigating, and movement controls have been placed on the mare and any additional animals on the premises. Movement controls will remain in place until the official quarantine is lifted, including follow-up testing and euthanizing the confirmed case. The CIFA will also take action at any additional premises where trace-out activities have occurred.
EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program that utilizes information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and disseminate verified equine disease reports. The EDCC is an independent nonprofit organization that is supported by industry donations in order to provide open access to infectious disease information.
Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks horses’ immune systems. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from an infected to an uninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. It can also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated instruments or needles.
A Coggins test screens horses’ blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of the EIA virus. Most U.S. states require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test to travel across state lines.
Once an animal is infected with EIA, it is infected for life and can be a reservoir for the spread of disease. Not all horses show signs of disease, but those that do can exhibit:
- Progressive body condition loss;
- Muscle weakness;
- Poor stamina;
- Depression; and
EIA has no vaccine and no cure. A horse diagnosed with the disease dies, is euthanized, or must be placed under extremely strict quarantine conditions (at least 200 yards away from unaffected equids) for the rest of his life.