Vet warning Tennessee owners after 4 horses infected with EIA

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EXETER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 20: A stable lad collects his horse after a race at Exeter Racecourse on December 20, 2018 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

The state veterinarian is warning horse owners around Tennessee after four horses came down with cases of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). 

According to a release, staff at the C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory tested the blood samples of four horses stabled at a farm in Rutherford County. They tested positive for EIA and were euthanized. 

Officials say six other horses on the farm were tested but came back negative. 

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says EIA is not contagious to humans. It is a blood-borne illness that can be fatal for horses. Symptoms may include fever, weakness, swelling, loss of appetite, or colic. However, an infected horse may not show any clinical signs. There is no treatment or vaccine. Once infected, a horse must be permanently quarantined or euthanized.

State law requires all horses being transported from its home farm to a new one to receive an annual Coggins test to check for the presence of EIA.  

“EIA is a serious disease, with devastating consequences,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher said. “Horse owners should do what they can to minimize risk—including regular testing, taking steps to safeguard against biting insects and practicing good animal husbandry. As always, contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your livestock.”

Other tips include:

  • Don’t co-mingle your horse with other, unfamiliar horses.
  • Do not share needles or any other medical supplies that come into contact with blood.
  • Keep the area in and around your barn clean to reduce the fly population.

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