Shared by Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has reported seven newly confirmed cases of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) in the municipal district of Pincher Creek. These incidences bring the total number of EIA cases in Alberta to ten for 2015. EIA is considered a sporadic disease in Canadian horses, with an overall low occurrence in horses across the country. Last year there was only one reported case in the province, though previous years within the last decade have seen much higher rates of infection.
To understand EIA it is important to recognize that there is currently no cure or vaccine to remedy or prevent the infection. While not all horses will display the symptoms of EIA, they can remain carriers for the rest of their lives. Nearly one-third of cases, however, will ultimately lead to death.
Federally legislated EIA regulations dictate that all suspected cases of EIA must be reported. A Coggins test can be administered by a veterinarian to verify the state of the infection. If the test confirms an infection, the animal is to be destroyed or housed in permanent quarantine. Owners of destroyed horses may be eligible for compensation by the CFIA.
As a horse owner, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize the risk of EIA, which are detailed on Alberta Animal Health Source. Additionally, it is recommended that you request an equine pre-purchase exam from your veterinarian before introducing any new horses into your herd.
For more information on EIA and equine biosecurity principles, visit our Equine Infectious Anemia topic page.