Another BC Horse Tests Positive for EIA

One horse on the premises died this past summer without being tested; several other equines also reside there.

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Another BC Horse Tests Positive for EIA
A Coggins test screens horses’ blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of the EIA virus. | Photo: The Horse Staff
On the heels of two horses testing positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA) on a premises in Peace River Subdivision B, British Columbia, officials at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) national reference laboratory tested and confirmed another horse in that area with EIA on Oct. 27.

Like the two horses confirmed on Oct. 21, this horse had also attended pony chuckwagon racing events over the summer. After another of this owner’s horses died unexpectedly of an unknown cause, the owner had this horse tested. The deceased horse had not been tested for EIA. Several other equines are reported as living on the affected premises.

Movement controls were enacted on the affected horses and on several other equines that reside at their premises and will remain in force until all CFIA disease protocols are complete, including follow-up testing and the destruction of confirmed cases. Trace-out actions may be enacted at additional premises per current policy.

CFIA urged owners to enact improved biosecurity measures to help control the spread of EIA and protect Canada’s national herd.

About EIA

Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks horses’ immune systems. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from an infected to an uninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. It can also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated instruments or needles.

Coggins test screens horses’ blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of the EIA virus. Most U.S. states require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test to travel across state lines.

Once an animal is infected with EIA, it is infected for life and can be a reservoir for the spread of disease. Not all horses show signs of disease, but those that do can exhibit:

  • Progressive condition loss;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Poor stamina;
  • Fever;
  • Depression; and
  • Anemia.

EIA has no vaccine and no cure. A horse diagnosed with the disease dies, is euthanized, or must be placed under extremely strict quarantine conditions (at least 200 yards away from unaffected equids) for the rest of his life.


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