Is your horse safe from Equine Infectious Anemia?
Posted October 20, 2017
Horses are beautiful and strong creatures, but
they still depend on their owners to keep them healthy. One disease
horse owners should be aware of is Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA),
a virus that can destroy red blood cells, causing weakness, anemia,
Dr. Michelle Coleman, assistant professor at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained
how the disease is spread.
“EIA is an infectious viral disease,” Coleman said. “The most
common mode of transmission of EIA is by the transfer of
virus-infected blood-feeding insects, such as horse flies. It can
also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated syringes,
surgical equipment, or the transfusion of infected blood or blood
products. Although uncommon, transmission can also occur through
the placenta in infected mares.”
There is no treatment, or safe and effective vaccine, available for
this disease, so horses that are positive for EIA should be
isolated from other horses. Most horses infected with EIA also do
not show any signs of illness or disease, so it is important to
constantly maintain good hygiene and disinfection principles, such
as controlling insects in the horse’s environment.
If you plan on traveling with your horse, all horses shipped across
state lines must be tested for EIA and have a negative result
within 12 months of transport. Furthermore, all horses sold,
traded, donated, or entering a sale or auction must test negative
for the disease. Fortunately, regulatory control of EIA has made
this disease relatively uncommon in the United States.
Despite the disease becoming less common, Coleman reminded horse
owners to be aware of EIA and routinely test all horses. With
proper hygiene and effective health routines, horses across the
nation can be kept safe from EIA.
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