|by Robert N. Oglesby, DVMINTRODUCTION
Equine Infectious Anemia is a viral disease for which there is no vaccine and no cure. Though most horses succumb rapidly to EIA a percentage of infected horses appear to recover. However they still harbor the virus and during times of stress may become ill again. It is because of these healthy appearing carriers that we test horses. It insures that we do not put their pasture mates at risk.
The chronically infected horse will having recurring acute bouts along with weight loss, ventral edema (swollen belly and legs) and anemia. These horses will be positive on a EIA test. These horses may linger for a year or more before they die.
Most asymptomatic EIA infected horses will not show any recognizable signs but will test positive on a Coggins test.
Once you have a negative Coggins further testing is not required for your own peace of mind. Your horse will not become EIA positive unless he develops a serious, febrile illness after contact with a horse of unknown EIA status. You may be required to have a test done yearly to show or transport your horse, so other people will know your horse is safe.
There is no vaccine for EIA. It is important that you be careful that your horse’s pasture mates are as healthy appearing as your own horse. Board your horse only where a negative Coggins test is required of all horses before they come on the premises. This is your best protection.
See EQUINE INFECTIOUS ANEMIA in the Disease Section.
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