Alberta Horse Tests Positive for EIA
On Nov. 12 Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) national reference laboratory confirmed positive test results for equine infectious anemia (EIA) in a horse on a Parkland County, Alberta, premises.

The horse’s owner had requested an accredited veterinarian test the horse due to clinical signs compatible with EIA.

CFIA has strongly recommended improved biosecurity protocols to horse owners to control possible spread of EIA. The agency is investigating, and movement controls have been enacted on the affected horse and all on-premises horses that made contact with it. Quarantine will be released when all disease response activities are complete, including follow-up testing and ordering the destruction of confirmed cases. Trace-out activities might result in actions at additional premises.

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.