The Tennessee state veterinarian is advising horse owners of four confirmed cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in West Tennessee. Four horses stabled at three locations in Henderson County recently tested positive for EIA. A second round of screening confirmed the positive results. State officials are now testing additional horses that stabled with or live near the infected horses. “We take EIA very seriously,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “Early detection and containment are critical to preventing the spread.”
EIA is a viral disease most commonly transmitted by biting insects. At this time, there is no vaccine or treatment. Although an infected horse can run a low-grade fever or become lethargic, often there are no clinical signs. A horse remains infected throughout its lifetime and can pass the disease to other horses. Owners of EIA-positive horses have two options: lifetime quarantine of the animal or euthanasia. A yearly Coggins test will screen for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of EIA. State law requires a negative Coggins test for any horse that is transported from its home farm to any event or other location.
To ensure the safety of your horse, make sure its Coggins test is current and that your animal does not have close contact with any horses that are not up-to-date. Cleanliness in and around your barn and a manure management plan can also help reduce the fly population. The state veterinarian and staff are focused on animal health and disease prevention through disease testing and surveillance.
Tennessee normally experiences a few cases of EIA each year. For more information, contact your local veterinarian or the Tennessee state veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120.