What Is Equine Infectious Anemia?


Veterinary clinical diagnostics

Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is a noncontagious, infectious disease that can affect horses and other species of Equidae (like zebras and donkeys). If you’ve never heard of the disease before, finding out that a horse you own or watch after has been diagnosed with it can definitely be alarming. The disease is caused by an RNA virus that can cause either a acute, subacute, or chronic infection. Unfortunately, the disease can be fatal. In fact, when horses are exposed to EIA, they can develop sever symptoms and die in as short as 2-3 weeks time.

If you want to learn more about this disease, how it spreads, and treatment options, read on.

How is EIA transmitted?

Generally, EIA is transmitted between horses through blood-feeding insects like mosquitoes. The virus is found hidden in the plasma or cells in the monocytes and macrophages of infected animals. The primary mode of transmission is through blood, but it’s important to remember that tissues and other bodily fluids are also a part of the areas of an animal that can become infected. Other blood-feeding insects that can cause the virus to be transmitted include horse flies, deer flies, and stable flies. These are actually the most efficient kinds of insects when it comes to virus transmission.

Are there more ways it can be transmitted?

Another way that the virus can be transmitted includes blood transmission through contaminated needles and surgical equipment. This is why it is so important to not only make sure your horse gets regular testing including veterinary laboratory procedures, as well as equine infectious anemia virus antibody test to ensure its overall health, but also be sure that veterinary laboratory equipment is clean and sterile.

What are some signs of EIA in my horse?

There are symptoms you can look for in your horse if you feel there is a chance it might have been exposed to EIA some way. These symptoms include fever, depression, decreased red blood cell numbers (anemia), decreased appetite, sweating, and rapid breathing.

Depending on the stage of the disease and the type, symptoms can be different. For acute, infections, the virus can be found within 1 to 2 weeks of the horse’s exposure to the virus, while chronic EIA would have more sever symptoms present like fever, depression, weight loss, and other flare-ups. There is also an “inapparent” form of the virus where horses don’t show many signs but might have periodic episodes. After one year the horse might not show any clinical signs and can be a life long carrier and can infect other horses.

Are there any other risk factors I should be aware of?

Other risk factors can put your horses at greater danger, which includes being close to regions where EIA has happened, as well as keeping your hoses in a stable or pasture where there are always new horses coming in and out. Your horses are also at great danger with the more shows, sales, and other events you take them to.

How do I test for this?

Test your horse for EIA by conducting a equine infectious anemia virus antibody test kit. By purchasing a equine infectious anemia virus antibody test kit, you can surely know if your horse has been effected by the virus, otherwise you will just be guessing and it could cost you your horse’s health. A veterinary physician can also help administer a equine infectious anemia virus antibody test kit test today.