EIA Reported in New Jersey Pony

A pony recently brought to a New Jersey stable from a sale barn in Pennsylvania was confirmed positive for equine infectious anemia. Officials in Pennsylvania are investigating the source of the infection. The pony, which had been obtained by an equine rescue group, was euthanized.

Equine infectious anemia (EIA), also called "swamp fever," is an infectious, viral disease that can infect all equidae (horses, donkeys, zebras, etc.) It is not infectious to humans. There is no effective treatment or approved vaccine available.

The disease is spread via blood-to-blood transmission, usually from horse to horse by large biting insects such as horseflies and deerflies. Blood transfusions, unsterilized or contaminated needles, and equipment contaminated with blood from an infected horse can also spread the virus.

Depending on an individual horse's immune system and the severity of its reaction, clinical signs of EIA can range dramatically. While some animals infected with EIA show no signs of illness, others display fever, weight loss, icterus (yellowing of body tissues), anemia, swelling of the limbs, weakness, rejection of feed, and/or sudden death.

To minimize disease transmission, all equidae should be tested for EIA before being brought onto a new premises. The animal should be isolated and observed for 45 to 60 days, then retested before being introduced to the herd.

New Jersey law requires all imported equidae to have a negative official test for EIA within the past 12 months. All equidae traveling on New Jersey roads must have a negative EIA test a maximum of 24 months prior to such travel, and any equidae that change ownership must be tested a maximum of 90 days prior to such a change in ownership. Equidae younger than six months are exempt from EIA testing if accompanied by their dam with a negative official test within the past 12 months.

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