Lethal EIA Confirmed

Lethal EIA Confirmed in PA Horse


The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has quarantined two Dauphin County stables after a horse tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA).

Nineteen horses are quarantined at a Halifax horse farm. The EIA-positive diagnosis was discovered as a part of a routine screening when blood was pulled for the horse’s Coggins test.

The horse recently moved from another Dauphin County farm in Williamstown. Another 13 horses have been placed under quarantine as the state works to trace the infected horse’s movement.

Both stables’ horses are quarantined for 60-days. The quarantine will be lifted after all of the horses have been retested to ensure they are not infected.

In Pennsylvania, all horses must have a negative EIA test 12 months prior to entering the state. The only exception is for foals under 6 months, if they accompany their EIA-negative dam.

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. They say it is important to only use new, clean needles and syringes on every horse.

Stay with us for any updates pertaining to this health alert.