On March 28, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) State Veterinarian’s Office was notified that a horse in Garfield County had tested presumptive positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). A confirmatory test was completed on April 4.
The positive horse was euthanized on April 11, and five exposed horses are under quarantine at the premises in Garfield County. They will remain under quarantine until a second round of testing is completed in 60 days.
The horse was tested due to illegal movement across state lines into a neighboring state without health papers or a current Coggins test. The State Veterinarian’s Office is working on contact tracing. At this time, the State Veterinarian believes that the risk to the general equine population in Colorado is low.
EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program that utilizes information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and disseminate verified equine disease reports. The EDCC is an independent nonprofit organization that is supported by industry donations in order to provide open access to infectious disease information.
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.
A 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 body condition loss;
- Muscle weakness;
- Poor stamina;
- Depression; and
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.