Equine Infectious Anemia

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About equine infectious anemia (EIA)
In Canada, EIA is a federally reportable disease, which means that producers or veterinarians must notify the CFIA of all suspected or confirmed cases. There is no human health risk with EIA.
The disease affects horses and other members of the equine family, such as donkeys and mules, and it is potentially fatal. The EIA virus is most commonly transmitted on the mouthparts of horse flies and deer flies. It can also be transmitted by needles, syringes or surgical instruments, or through the semen of an infected stallion. Foals can be infected in utero, and they are usually aborted or die within two months of birth. There is no cure or available vaccine for EIA.

Signs of EIA and what to do
Infected animals may show few clinical signs of disease, particularly in the early stages of infection. However, infected animals remain carriers of the virus for life, putting other animals at risk. Infected animals may show some of the following signs:
  • loss of coordination*
  • anorexia (off-feed)
  • depression
  • general weakness
  • intermittent fever up to 41C
  • jaundice
  • bleeding under the tongue and eyes
  • swelling of the extremities
  • weight loss
*Note: loss of coordination may be the only clinical sign observed.

If you suspect your horse may be infected, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Many other diseases can cause the same signs in horses, which is why it’s so important to call your veterinarian to examine and possibly test your horse for EIA.

Preventing EIA and more information
Ask your veterinarian about preventing EIA in your horses or visit the CFIA website to learn more about prevention and for general information about EIA.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Alberta’s Chief Provincial Veterinarian at 780-427-3448 (Call toll-free in Alberta by dialing 310-0000)

To protect your horses from this disease, it is vitally important to develop and follow a sound biosecurity plan for your horses.

Dr. Keith Lehman,
Chief Provincial Veterinarian

Biosecurity in Alberta
Species Specific Biosecurity Protocols
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ana Ulmer-Franco.
This information published to the web on August 11, 2011.
Last Reviewed/Revised on September 15, 2017.