Veterinarians are searching for the source of EIA outbreak in Arkansas

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Many states require all horses to have a Coggins test pulled each year, even if they don’t travel. Photo: Leslie Potter

In August, 40 cases of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) were found at an Arkansas ranch. The remaining horses at the ranch are in quarantine.

EIA, also known as swamp fever, is a highly contagious disease that affects the immune system. It is most often spread by biting insects. Although not all infected horses will die of the disease, they will always be carriers and there is no cure and currently no approved vaccine in the United States. The test for EIA, commonly called a Coggins test for the vet who developed it, is required in many states. Because of the contagious nature of EIA, horses that test positive must be quarantined for life or euthanized.

In Arkansas, horses are required to have a Coggins test pulled every 12 months. The owner of the affected ranch hadn’t had the full herd tested in approximately five years. The horses had retired from competing and new horses rarely came to the farm, making for a fairly insular environment. However, because most of the horses had not been tested in years, it’s possible that the disease was incubating in unaffected carriers in the herd, according to Arkansas State Veterinarian George Pat Badley, DVM.

The most recent equine addition to the farm had arrived approximately six months ago. Veterinarians tested horses at the farm where that horse had previously lived and found no positive cases. Currently, they believe this outbreak is isolated.

All horse owners are encouraged to have their horses tested regularly. As part of standard biosecurity, farm owners should require any horse arriving on the property to show a recent, negative Coggins test.

Click here to read information about the outbreak from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I THINK IT SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR EVERY SINGLE HORSE OWNER ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO HAVE A COGGINS DONE, AND HAVE REGULAR VACCINES DONE, WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT. VACCINATING AND COG TEST, IS JUST PART OF PROPER HORSE CARE. IT NOT ONLY PREVENTS DISEASE IN YOUR OWN HORSE, IT PROTECTS OTHER HORSES FROM DISEASE AS WELL. I MAINLY TRAIL RIDE BY MYSELF, OR WITH THE SAME FEW FRIENDS’ HORSES, CLOSE TO HOME, AND EVERY YEAR I GET A COG TEST DONE ALONG WITH THE VACCINES EVERY SPRING. TO PROTECT MY HORSES, AND ANY OTHER HORSES, JUST INCASE WE DO VENTURE OUT AROUND NEW STRANGE HORSES. ITS JUST GOOD COMMON SENSE HORSE CARE IF YOU ASK ME. THE RANCH OWNER SHOULD BE FINED FOR NOT HAVING COGGINS TESTS DONE IN 5 YRS FOR POSSIBLY PUTING AT RISK OTHER HORSES ON OTHER NEIGHBORING FARMS/RANCHES!!

  2. In some states it is manditory to have certain vacines and tests done, traveling or not. The Coggins test/shot is easy to give and makes your life easier knowing your horse is safe from this infection. Common sense tells you to vacinate/worm/farrier etc, it all comes with horse ownership.

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