The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is advising horse owners of a case of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in West Tennessee.
A horse stabled at a farm in Shelby County recently tested positive for EIA. The horse has been euthanized, and state officials are now testing additional horses that stabled with or live near the infected horse.
EIA is not contagious to humans. It is a blood-borne illness that can be fatal for horses. Symptoms may include fever, weakness, swelling, loss of appetite, or colic. However, an infected horse may not show any clinical signs. There is no treatment or vaccine. Once infected, a horse must be permanently quarantined or euthanized.
In January, four horses stabled at a farm in Rutherford County were euthanized after they tested positive for EIA. Six other horses at the same farm tested negative.
State law requires an annual Coggins test to check for the presence of EIA before any horse is transported from its home farm to a different location. Although that paperwork is valid for one year, horse owners may want to consider testing their livestock more frequently.
“Early detection and containment are critical to preventing the spread of EIA,” Interim State Veterinarian Doug Balthaser, D.V.M. said. “We urge horse owners to practice good animal husbandry and regularly test their horses. As always, contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your livestock.”
Other tips include:
· Don’t co-mingle your horse with other, unfamiliar horses.
· Do not share needles or any other medical supplies that come into contact with blood.
· Keep the area in and around your barn clean to reduce the fly population.
The C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory offers a full line of equine disease testing, including West Nile virus, equine infectious anemia, equine herpes virus, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, and equine influenza virus. Contact your veterinarian for more information.