Livestock News

Kansas horse owners wary after Equine Infectious Anemia


Kansas horse owners are on guard after the Kansas Animal Health Commissioner has confirmed nine horses have now tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA).

Further trace outs have resulted in confirmation of two additional Equine Piroplasmosis (EP)-positive horses, for a total of nine horses positive for EIA and three positive for EP. The counties involved:

  • Finney County: 10 horses (7 EIA+ and 3 EP+)
  • Kearny County: 2 horses (both EIA+)
  • Haskell County: 1 horse (EP+)

EIA is an incurable, infectious disease caused by a virus that can affect horses, donkeys, and other equine species. The virus destroys red blood cells and is spread through blood-to-blood contact, not through close proximity or casual contact. 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.

In August 2017, the Kansas Animal Health Commissioner was notified that a horse near Garden City tested positive for EIA after a routine Coggins test. This initiated follow-up testing of all horses on the index premises, which resulted in the discovery of five additional EIA-positive horses, and one horse tested positive for EP. All positive horses on this premises have been humanely euthanized. All remaining horses on the premises are under official quarantine pending retest in 60 days.

All horses within a half-mile surveillance zone surrounding the index positive premises were tested. No additional positives were detected in that zone.

There are more than 40 exposed horses on six different premises where EIA-positive or EP-positive horses were found, all of which are under official quarantine pending retest. All confirmed EIA-positive horses had recently been on the index premises, which was an unsanctioned, informal horse racing facility in Finney County.

State, federal and accredited veterinarians performed confirmation and surveillance testing. Horses are confirmed EIA or EP positive by the National Veterinary Service Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

More than 1,300 horses were tested for EIA in Kansas through surveillance and routine testing in August 2017. Kansas has had nine positive horses in the past ten years; three in 2007, two in 2008 and four in 2016.

Horse owners who have concerns about their animal’s health or questions about possible exposure should contact your local veterinarian.

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