Five horses on a New York farm have tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA), according to the state. Ten draft types reside on the property located in Cortland County.
The horses have been placed under quarantine and an investigation is underway. It is not known at this time if the cases were found as a part of a routine screening.
In New York, all horses must have a negative EIA test 12 months prior to a change in ownership. Horses coming into the state need to have a health certificate and a negative EIA, which many call their horse’s Coggins. The only exception is if the horse is being transported directly to slaughter.
EIA is a viral disease, also known as swamp fever. It attacks the horse’s immune system and is transmitted by biting insects – primarily horse flies and deer flies. It can also be transmitted through infected needles being shared between horses.
There is no cure or vaccine to prevent EIA. Affected horses can carry the disease without symptoms for years or they may become acutely or chronically infected. Signs of the disease include fever, depression, anemia, and dependent edema, sometimes progressing to loss of condition, lethargy, and anorexia.
There are no treatment options for infected horses so the United States Department of Agriculture requires euthanasia or strict lifelong quarantine for EIA-positive horses. Studies show that a 200-yard separation between an isolated positive EIA horse and other horses prevents transmission of the disease.
To help prevent the disease, veterinarians recommend insect control, good sanitation, and testing new horses with a Coggins test before bringing them onto your property. The use of only new, clean needles and syringes on each horse is also important to keep the disease away.
Stay with us for any updates pertaining to this health alert.