Deadly disease

North Carolina Ag officials confirm a mule tested positive for the deadly Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) last week.

A veterinarian pulled blood from the 14-year-old female or mollie mule located in Johnston County for a routine Coggins test. Due to the positive test results, a veterinarian euthanized the mule.

The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has placed the facility under quarantine. Veterinarians tested the facility’s remaining equines which were negative for EIA. The state continues to monitor the animals and will retest them in 60 days.

The disease, also called swamp fever, affects horses, donkeys, and mules. There is no cure or vaccine to prevent EIA.

Biting insects typically transmit EIA which is a blood-borne illness. The use of infected needles can also transmit EIA from equine to equine.

Affected equines can carry the disease without symptoms for years. They may become acutely or chronically infected. EIA attacks the equine’s immune system.

Clinical signs of EIA include fever, weakness, weight loss, anemia and edema, and death. All infected equines, including those that are asymptomatic, are carriers of the disease.

To help prevent the disease, veterinarians recommend insect control, good horse facility sanitation, testing new equines with a Coggins test before bringing them onto your property, and quarantining new equines for 45 days.

Although agriculture officials keep tight control over EIA which limits outbreaks across the U.S., there have been eight confirmed cases in Kansas in the last month. Canadian officials have reported 14 cases of EIA in Manitoba since June.

The last reported case of the disease in North Carolina was in 2005.