Incurable Disease

Officials confirm two more horses in southwestern Kansas have tested positive for an incurable, infectious disease.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health said last week that it received confirmation that the two horses located in different counties, Finney and Kearny counties, tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA).

Officials conducted surveillance, identified, and tested more than 800 horses connected to the index case. The investigation led to the discovery of the two additional positive EIA horses.

Last month, six horses in Finney County tested positive for EIA. The Department states the horses had recently been on the index premises, an unsanctioned, informal horse racing facility in rural Garden City.

Veterinarians euthanized all of the EIA-positive horses because there is no cure.

The state has quarantined the exposed horses remaining on the premises where EIA was confirmed. Veterinarians will retest those horses’ blood in 60 days by utilizing a Coggins test.

EIA attacks the horse’s immune system. Clinical signs of EIA include fever, anemia, and edema; however, affected horses may not show symptoms. All infected horses, including those which are asymptomatic, are carriers of the disease.

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

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.

Prior to 2017, Kansas had nine cases of EIA over a 10-year period.