Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is a potentially fatal disease that threatens the world’s horse, donkey and mule populations. The virus that causes EIA reproduces in the white blood cells that circulate throughout the body. The immune system, via antibodies, may attack and destroy red blood cells, leading to anemia. Infected horses may die from the direct effects of the virus or from secondary infections. Despite testing and measures to eradicate the equine infectious anemia virus, EIAV, more than 500 new cases are identified each year in the U.S. There is no cure for EIA. Although most horses show no symptoms, they remain contagious for life, endangering the health of other horses. For this reason, the United States Department of Agriculture and state animal health regulatory agencies require euthanasia or strict lifelong quarantine for horses testing positive for EIA.
Your horse’s only protection against EIA is prevention. Good management practices can reduce the potential of infection. The following guidelines from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) will help:
For more information about EIA, ask your equine veterinarian for “Equine Infectious Anemia: The Only Protection if Prevention,” a brochure provided by the AAEP in conjunction with Educational Partner Bayer Animal Health. Additional information can be found on the AAEP’s horse health Web site, www.myHorseMatters.com.
Reprinted with permission from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.