The state veterinarian is advising horse owners of four cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in Middle Tennessee.

Staff at the C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory tested blood samples and determined that four horses stabled at a farm in Rutherford County were positive for EIA. Those horses were euthanized. Six other horses at the same farm tested negative, but will remain in quarantine until they can be tested a second time.

EIA is not contagious to humans. It is a blood-borne illness that can be fatal for horses. Symptoms may include fever, weakness, swelling, loss of appetite, or colic. However, an infected horse may not show any clinical signs. There is no treatment or vaccine. Once infected, a horse must be permanently quarantined or euthanized.

State law requires an annual Coggins test to check for the presence of EIA before any horse is transported from its home farm to a different location. Although that paperwork is valid for one year, horse owners may want to consider testing their livestock more frequently.

“EIA is a serious disease, with devastating consequences,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher said. “Horse owners should do what they can to minimize risk—including regular testing, taking steps to safeguard against biting insects, and practicing good animal husbandry. As always, contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your livestock.”

Other tips include:

· Don’t co-mingle your horse with other, unfamiliar horses.

· Do not share needles or any other medical supplies that come into contact with blood.

· Keep the area in and around your barn clean to reduce the fly population.

The C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory offers a full line of equine disease testing, including West Nile virus, equine infectious anemia, equine herpes virus, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, and equine influenza virus. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

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