Nebraska’s state veterinarian is releasing new details regarding horses in the northwestern part of the state inflicted with equine infectious anemia.
Dr. Dennis Hughes says the disease has not been found in other horses that came into contact with the initial herd in Cherry County. The herd remains under quarantine and will receive additional testing in the next few months to ensure the disease issue has been fully addressed.
Experts say EIA is an infectious viral disease caused by a lentivirus, which is similar to HIV in people.
An epidemiological investigation began earlier this month after 12 cases of EIA were found. Since there aren’t any treatment options, 10 of the infected horses were euthanized. The remaining two equines were taken to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, in Iowa, for work related to EIA testing.
Dr. Hughes says horse, mule and donkey owners should remain vigilant this summer by following biosecurity precautions to reduce the risk of infection in their herds, including: implement control measures to reduce biting insects, such as horseflies and deerflies; follow the rule of one horse-one needle; and additions to herds should have a negative Coggins test before being allowed to intermingle with other horses.
EIA symptoms include: fever, depression, weight loss, swelling and anemia.
Dr. Hughes says those traveling across Nebraska state lines must follow the state’s horse import regulations, which includes a negative Coggins test, which determines the presence of EIA.
Currently there is not a vaccine that is effective for prevention of the disease.