Horse owners warned about deadly equine illness found in West Tennessee

22 Tennessee racing horses sick with equine blood parasite

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The discovery of a deadly illness impacting horses prompted a warning from the state veterinarian in Tennessee.

Two horses in Shelby County recently tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia, which is a blood-borne illness that can be deadly, officials said. The stable in Shelby County was placed under quarantine and veterinarians were testing more horses on the property.

“EIA is a devastating illness with serious consequences,” State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty stated in a press release. “Early detection is key to preventing the spread. Maintaining a current Coggins test on your horse is vitally important, along with practicing good biosecurity at home and on the road.”

Officials added that EIA does not infect people, but was very dangerous for horses because there was no vaccine or treatment.

“As a blood-borne illness, it is commonly transmitted through biting insects or sharing needles among horses,” the release stated. “Symptoms may include fever, lethargy, swelling, loss of appetite, or colic. However, an infected horse may not show any clinical signs. If infected, horses must be permanently quarantined or euthanized.”

Horse owners were advised to consult with their veterinarian to set up a schedule for Coggins tests, which were required annually by state law to check for EIA before a horse is transported from its home farm to a different location.

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