The Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (LPH) reported two horses in Barnwell County, South Carolina, positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA).
A 3-year-old Quarter Horse filly and a 3-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, both used for bush track racing, have been euthanized after testing positive for EIA. The two positive horses likely contracted EIA from shared needles, and Clemson LPH and South Carolina USDA veterinarians are investigating any other potential cases. The horses mark the fourth and fifth EIA cases in South Carolina in 2022. An official quarantine is in place.
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.