The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported March 17 that the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) has confirmed the first case of equine infections anemia (EIA) in that state for 2017.

“The 8-year-old registered Quarter Horse gelding located in Choctaw County was euthanized,” the EDCC said. “Past EIA testing history for this horse is unknown, but this horse was actively involved in rodeo and roping events.”

The EDCC said the ODAFF recommends regular EIA testing for all horses, including those that do not leave the property, at least every 3 years.

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 noninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies, and more rarely 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, and many 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. Obvious clinical signs of the disease include progressive loss of condition along with muscle weakness and poor stamina. An affected horse also could show fever, depression, and anemia.