Update: Equine Infectious Anemia

Colorado officials state three Weld County horses have been euthanized after testing positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA).

The Colorado Department of Agriculture quarantined the index horse’s facility and tested all remaining horses. Veterinarians discovered two additional horses, owned by the same person, infected with EIA.

The often fatal 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. “…since it is still early in the Colorado fly season, the risk of transmission to other horses is relatively low,” says Dr. Keith Roehr, state veterinarian.
The use of infected needles can also transmit EIA from horse to horse.

Colorado law requires EIA testing annually or before horses are transported across state lines. Veterinarians pull blood for a Coggins test to determine if there are antibodies present.

Affected horses can carry the disease without symptoms for years or they may become acutely or chronically infected. EIA attacks the horse’s immune system. Signs of the disease include fever, depression, anemia, and dependent edema.

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

The last case of EIA in Colorado was in June 2016.

Stay with us as we continue following this health case.