Michigan Horse Tests Positive for Equine Infectious Anemia

Officials with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) have confirmed Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) in a 17-year old grade mare from Mecosta County.

EIA is an infectious virus spread between equidae (horses, asses, jacks, jennies, hinnies, mules, donkeys, burros, ponies, and zebras) by deer and horse flies. EIA can cause severe illness, including fever, anemia, swelling, lethargy, and death.  EIA can also be spread through repeat use of needles or through other acts where blood is exchanged from one equine to another.

"This is the first case of EIA in Michigan since 2008," said State Veterinarian Steven Halstead, DVM. "MDARD is investigating the case to identify other horses that may have been exposed to the positive horse or may have caused the exposure.  Any such horses will be quarantined on their farms and tested for EIA by a regulatory veterinarian."

To protect all Michigan equidae, MDARD requires a negative test for EIA within the last 12 months prior to movement, in order to travel to a public event (fairs, expositions, exhibitions), auction markets, or traveling as part of sale to a new owner.

"Because there are no effective and safe vaccines, nor can infection be treated, Michigan law established a control program requiring owners of equines attending commingling events, or changing ownership and housing location, to have proof of a negative EIA test," said Halstead. 

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