What is Equine Infectious Anemia?
Equine infectious anemia (EIA) is a potentially fatal blood-borne infectious viral disease that produces a persistent infection among equids nearly worldwide.
- Low platelet count
- Red or purple spots on the mucous membranes
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle atrophy
Diagnosis: Equine Infectious Anemia is diagnosed by testing antibody levels in the blood. The most common test used to diagnose EIA is called a Coggins test. Antibodies are detected by two tests, AGID (agar gel immunodiffusion) and ELISA. Both tests are available in many laboratories; the ELISA requires less time for to receive results.
Treatment: There is no treatment or cure for Equine Infectious Anemia. Horses confirmed positive can be quarantined for the rest of their life but are usually euthanized.
Prognosis: Poor. EIA can be fatal and although horses can be subclinical carriers, they can shed the virus for the duration of their lifetime and are usually euthanized if confirmed positive for the disease.
Prevention: There is no vaccine available for Equine Infectious Anemia. Methods of prevention include vector control (insect control) to reduce the possibility of transmission, ensuring that needles and other medical equipment contaminated with blood are never shared between horses. Routine EIA testing should be performed to determine the status of the horses in an area and thus prevent transmission of the virus to horses nearby. Many equine events require a negative Coggins test within 12 months of the event to enter the facility.
Practice vector management on all properties where horses are kept:
o Use insect repellents frequently; re-apply after rain.
o Keep horses in at night when possible, and apply insect repellant.
o Eliminate or minimize standing water.
o Stock tanks or ponds with mosquito-feeding fish.
o Eliminate brush piles, gutters, old tires and litter.
o Remove all equipment in which standing water can collect.
o Practice fly control by managing manure piles, and cleaning pastures
Biosecurity: Infected horses must be euthanized or quarantined with separation from non-infected horse by at least 200 yards to prevent spread of the disease. Infected horses cannot be moved from the original premises during their lifetime except by special USDA approval