USAHA Infectious Diseases Committee Report On EIA

The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) Committee of Infectious Diseases of Horses was the first introduction of the new draft uniform methods and rules for equine infectious anemia (EIA). Tim Cordes, DVM, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Equine Programs, with USDA, APHIS, explained the new rules to the group, and he gave samples of the draft EIA forms to veterinarians in attendance.

The significant changes on the form, Cordes said, were having the address of the owner appear, changing nomenclature location for easier use of standardized language, getting rid of carbon sheets, and an optional certification for the owner that was designed to protect the attending veterinarian from the owner falsifying the form.

New rules in association with the new forms allow the testing laboratory to reject incomplete forms. The new rules also put in place a $10,000 fine plus five years imprisonment for falsifying EIA forms.

The new documents will be tried for one year. Then any modifications will be made before nation-wide implementation.

The uniform methods and rules set a federal standard for EIA testing and record keeping, although individual states can make laws more restrictive. The idea of putting federal standards in place is in the hopes that EIA can be eradicated.

There was some discussion about the tests used to determine if a horse has EIA. Of the test kits available, one was found to have some false positives, and another was found to have some false negatives. The ELISA kit with the false positives said all positives should be confirmed with augar gel testing, and regulators were not as worried about that problem as with the test that sometimes gave false negatives (and allowed positive horses to remain in the general population).

The EIA eradication and control program in Louisiana was discussed. It was noted that in 1994, Louisiana had the highest per capita positives for EIA in the nation with 326 positive horses from 40,600 horses tested. By the end of 1997, the state was expected to have only 135 positive horses from 52,000 horses tested.

Louisiana requires a mandatory Coggins test for every horse once a year, and the state requires electronic identification for all horses tested for EIA. Other states are following Louisiana's lead.

About the Author

Tim Brockhoff

Tim Brockhoff was Staff Writer of The Horse:Your Guide to Equine Health Care from 1995 to 1999. His degree is in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky, and his equine experience is with American Saddlebreds.

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