Equine Infectious Anemia Found in Nine NC Counties

RALEIGH –A total of 19 horses in nine counties have tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). At this time, 17 horses have been euthanized to help prevent further spread. The counties include Duplin, Forsyth, Henderson, Mecklenburg, Randolph, Sampson, Surry, Yadkin and Wake. The majority of EIA positive cases have been associated with unsanctioned horse racing.

The disease was discovered most recently this past November through collaborative efforts by private veterinary practitioners, NCDA&CS Veterinary Division field staff, the N.C. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Raleigh and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Continued investigation and testing is supported by these same entities.

“All facilities where infectious horses were discovered are placed under quarantine, which restricts movement of equine,” said Dr. Catherine Harris, director of Livestock Health Programs. “The remaining equines will be observed and retested in 60 days. We are also monitoring neighboring facilities for the disease.”

EIA is an incurable disease commonly spread by biting flies or shared medical equipment between equines, such as horses, mules and donkeys. Clinical signs of EIA include fever, weakness, weight loss, anemia, edema and death. However, many infected equine may not show symptoms. All infected equine, including those that are asymptomatic, are carriers of the disease. The disease does not affect people.

There are typically a small number of cases of EIA in the United States every year, although the disease is common in other parts of the world. EIA is controlled in the United States by regular testing before traveling across state lines and/or exhibition. The test for EIA is commonly called a Coggins test. There is no approved vaccine for EIA in the United States.

To help prevent infection, follow these guidelines:

  • Use sterile, disposable needles and syringes, one per horse, for all vaccines and medications.
  • Test all horses for EIA every year, and at the time they enter a new premises.
  • Keep stables and other facilities sanitary. Regularly clean stalls and properly dispose of manure away from horse stabling areas.
  • Implement approved insect controls, such as insecticides and good drainage of standing water, to minimize fly presence.
  • Only participate in events that require evidence of negative Coggins test.
  • Isolate new horses on a property until they are tested for EIA.
  • Never mix infected and healthy animals. Do not breed horses infected with EIA.

Equine owners who have concerns about their animal’s health should contact their local veterinarian.  “Contact your local veterinary practitioner for more information and to obtain a current Coggins,” said Harris. “In addition, there are several clinics and practitioners offering Coggins and vaccination clinics. These are great opportunities for horse owners to get an updated Coggins test in addition to vaccines for other diseases.” For more information about EIA or other reportable animal diseases please call the Veterinary Division at 919-707-3250 or visit the website at: NCDA&CS – Veterinary Division (ncagr.gov).

Below are some upcoming Coggins and Vaccination Clinics. This is not an all-inclusive list. Contact your local veterinary practitioner for upcoming events in your area:

Foothills Large Animal Hospital (Dr. Justin Jornigan)

  • McDowell Saddle & Bridle Club, 4120 NC 226 S Marion – March 18 (9 a.m.-noon)

Rocky River Vets (Dr. Bert Parker)

  • Rocky River Large Animal Veterinary Clinic, Kannapolis – Feb 18 (during regular haul-in hours)
  • Cabarrus Saddle Club, Concord, – Feb 25 (8 a.m.-11 a.m.)
  • Union County Livestock Market, Monroe – Feb 25 (noon -3 p.m.)

North Buncombe FFA (Dr. Ted Wright)

  • North Buncombe High School, Weaverville – March 4 (9a.m.-noon)

Animals R Us Veterinary Clinic (Dr. Beverly Hargus)

  • WNC Ag Center, Fletcher – March 4 (9 a.m.-3 p.m.)
  • Cherokee/Murphy – March 18 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)
  • Robbinsville, NC – March 25 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.)

Cool Springs Mobile Veterinary Service (Dr. Jay Moore)

  • Hidden Pond Farm, Rockwell – Feb 4 (10 a.m.)
  • Eastern Rowan Saddle Club, Rockwell – Feb 18 (10 a.m.)
  • Another may be held Mar 4, (TBA)

Reagan Equine (Dr. Ginger Reagan)

·      Potter Farm, 477 Bell Swamp Connection, Winnebow – Mar 4 (9 a.m.-11 a.m.)

Vale Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Steven Matthews)

·      March Madness—Discounted Coggins for the month of March for haul-in customers