Today’s Topic: Equine infectious anemia found in NC mule

By on August 29, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

The first documented case of equine infectious anemia in North Carolina since 2005 was confirmed recently in a 14-year-old female mule from Johnston County.

The case was discovered through a routine blood test by the NCDA&CS Rollins Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Raleigh and confirmed by the USDA.

The Johnston County facility is under a quarantine that restricts movement of equine until our department completes more tests.

Because the disease is not curable, the mule was euthanized. The remaining equine animals at the facility were tested, and EIA was not detected in them. They will be retested in 60 days, and we are monitoring neighboring facilities for the disease.

EIA is most commonly spread between horses, mules and donkeys that are in close proximity to biting flies and ticks. Clinical signs of the disease include fever, weakness, weight loss, anemia and edema, and death. But affected equine don’t always show symptoms.

The disease does not affect people.

There are typically just a few cases of EIA in the United States every year. EIA is controlled in the U.S. by regular testing before traveling across state lines or before exhibitions. The test for EIA is commonly called a Coggins test.

There is no approved vaccine for EIA in the U.S. But there are several steps equine owners can take to prevent the disease:

  • 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 for every equine entering the event to prevent disease introduction and spread.
  • 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.
  • Follow state laws covering EIA.

Equine owners who have concerns about their animal’s health should contact their local veterinarian.

Click on the link below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about EIA.

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