The Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System has reported two new equine infectious anemia (EIA) cases.
On July 7, the first horse, which participated in rodeo events, tested positive prior to export to the U.S. from Prince Albert No. 461, Saskatchewan. The horse was not showing clinical signs of disease.
A horse in Northern Sunrise County, Alberta, was also confirmed positive on July 7. The horse showed no clinical signs, but the owner requested testing due to previous contact with other recently positive horses through pony chuckwagon activities.
Both horses are under official quarantine until follow-up testing is performed and confirmed cases are euthanized. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency might require further action at trace-out activity, and owners and caregivers have been advised to implement improved biosecurity protocols.
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.