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Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine • Since 1993
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Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine
Distributed throughout the Greater Rockies Since 1993

 

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Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Two Confirmed Cases of EIA in Bozeman, MT

By Natalie Riehl, RMR Editor

 

June 2010 Issue

 

     The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) has reported two confirmed cases of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) in the Bozeman , MT , area.

     Dr. Tahnee Szymanski, Montana State Field Veterinarian, told RMR that the first horse had had a routine Coggins test, and was found to be positive by the Montana Diagnostic Lab. This horse was one of three kept together, and state law requires that all equines kept on the same property must be tested if one tests positive. Upon further testing, a second horse was confirmed positive, and these test results were analyzed by the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames , Iowa .

     The first horse had been tested the previous year, and had tested negative. The horse had traveled extensively around Montana , had traveled out of state on at least one occasion, and had been used primarily in the back country.

     The horses are both geldings, aged 9 and 12. Dr. Szymanski declined to name the breed, saying the MDOL wished to keep the identity of the owner private.

     EIA is a federally regulated disease, and equines found to have it must either be euthanized, donated for research, or kept in permanent quarantine 200 yards from other horses.

     EIA is spread by biting insects, primarily deer flies and horse flies which feed on blood. Humans and other animals cannot contract the disease. The disease is not contagious in that horses cannot catch it from each other; they may only contract EIA if infected by blood transmitted from biting insects or sometimes, hypodermic needles.

     Common chronic symptoms of the disease include fever, weight loss, depression, edema, weakness, and anemia. Although a horse with an acute case can develop severe signs and die within two to three weeks, the majority of horses are unapparent carriers and show no signs of having the disease.

     Dr. Szymanski explained that of all the Coggins tests done nationwide, only .02% test positive. There is no treatment for EIA, nor is there a vaccination. Some horses may be carriers but show no clinical signs of the disease. Because of the stringent protocol upon diagnosis, cases in the United States have been kept to a minimum.

     Dr. Szymanski said that the Montana State Veterinarian’s Office feels comfortable stating that the horses did not contract the disease in the Bozeman area. Neighbors’ horses have been tested. The MDOL is currently conducting an investigation of other horses the positive horse may have come in contact with when traveling.

     The horses in Bozeman have been accepted into a herd of positive horses which is kept at the research facility in Ames , IA.

     If an owner euthanizes a positive horse, it must be buried if lethally injected, but may be left out if it has been shot. Check county regulations for the details on carcass disposal.

 

     For more information about Equine Infectious Anemia, visit the Montana Department of Livestock’s website at: liv.mt.gov/liv/ah/diseases/main_diseases.asp.

Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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