The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has confirmed 12 cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in one horse herd located in the northwestern part of the state, according to a June 4 statement from the department. State Veterinarian Dennis Hughes, DVM, said EIA affects only horses, mules, and donkeys.
EIA is a blood-borne disease and is typically transmitted by biting insects (such as horseflies and deerflies), but also can be transmitted from horse to horse through infected needles. There are no treatment options for infected horses, Hughes said. All infected horses, including those that are asymptomatic, are potential carriers and are considered infectious for life. Infected animals must either be destroyed or remain permanently isolated from other equids to prevent transmission.
Horse owners are encouraged to take biosecurity precautions to reduce the risk of infection in their herds, including:
- Implement control measures, including husbandry practices, that reduce biting insects, such as horseflies and deerflies;
- Follow the "one horse-one needle" rule; and
- Ensure new herd members have a negative Coggins test (the test utilized to determine the presence of EIA) before being allowed to intermingle with other equids.
EIA clinical signs include fever, depression, weight loss, swelling, and anemia. Producers with horses, donkeys, or mules that exhibit these symptoms are urged to contact their veterinarian immediately.
Hughes reminds those who are importing horses into Nebraska for show, exhibition, or other reasons to follow Nebraska’s horse import regulations, which includ