On July 30, Clemson University Livestock Poultry Health (CULPH) confirmed three cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in South Carolina.
A 4-year-old Quarter Horse gelding in Berkeley County was confirmed positive. The facility where the horse resides is under official quarantine.
Additionally, a 6-year-old Quarter Horse gelding and a 10-year-old Quarter Horse Cross gelding tested positive for EIA in Barnwell County. The horses had been in contact with the Berkeley County positive horse, and the CULPH and U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarians are working to find any other horses that might be connected to prevent further spread. The owner is discussing available options for the horses.
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.