EIA Found in Six McNair Co., Tenn., Horses

EIA Found in Six McNair Co., Tenn., Horses

In Tennessee, horses are required to be tested for EIA every 12 months if there is change of ownership or if horses are assembled at locations with multiple owners, Hatcher said.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

Six horses residing in McNair County, Tenn., located in the southwest part of the state, have tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA).

State Veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM, told The Horse that the initial case was confirmed positive during the first week of March.

"The ensuing epidemiological investigation yielded five more confirmed positive cases tied to the initial case, all in close proximity in McNairy County," he said. "Two premises are quarantined, and the epidemiological investigation is ongoing. No horses have been euthanized as of (March 25).

"It is doubtful that the source of the disease will be discovered," he added.

Hatcher said that in the recent past, Tennessee has confirmed zero to two EIA cases each year.

"It’s important that equine owners follow all state rules and regulations governing EIA," he stressed. "In Tennessee, horses are required to be tested for EIA every 12 months if there is change of ownership or if horses are assembled at locations with multiple owners."

The most common blood test to detect the disease is the Coggins test.

He recommended area horse owners consult their veterinarians for additional information about EIA and best management practices for disease prevention.

Equine infectious anemia is an incurable infectious disease of horses spread by biting flies, such as the horse fly and deer fly. The disease can cause fever, anemia, fluid accumulation on the chest or legs, and emaciation in some animals. The virus can also cross the placental barrier to cause fetal infection. Many horses do not show any clinical signs of disease or have very mild signs on first exposure and carry the virus subclinically.

All infected horses, including those that are asymptomatic, are potential carriers and are considered infectious for life. Infected animals must either be euthanized or remain permanently isolated from other equids to prevent transmission. There is currently no vaccine to protect horses against EIA.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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