eia in dallas county, texas

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has provided an update on equine infectious anemia (EIA) cases in Dallas County horses, the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported Sept. 19. There have been three cases of EIA in Dallas County, Texas, horses since June.

“On June 13, TAHC, officials reported EIA in one Dallas County Quarter Horse,” the EDCC said. “Since that time, one additional horse from the quarantined premises has been confirmed positive for EIA.

“In addition, TAHC officials have confirmed EIA in another unrelated Dallas County Quarter Horse. The positive horses have been euthanized. The premises in Dallas county will remain under quarantine until requirements for release have been met.”

The statement said TAHC staff are working closely with owners and veterinarians to monitor potentially exposed horses and implement biosecurity measures.

EIA 101

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 a uninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. It can also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated instruments or needles.

A Coggins test screens horses’ blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of EIA. Most U.S. states require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test in order to travel.

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.

There is no vaccine and no cure. A horse diagnosed with EIA 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.