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4 horses sickened by equine infectious anemia, euthanized at Rutherford Co. farm

PHOTO: MGN

The state veterinarian is warning horse owners of four cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in Middle Tennessee. Four horses stabled at a Rutherford County farm were euthanized after testing positive for EIA.

The C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Lab tested the blood samples. Six other horses at the same farm tested negative, but will remain in quarantine until they can be tested a second time, the state said in a news release.

EIA is a blood-borne illness that can be deadly for horses, but is not contagious to humans. Symptoms may include fever, weakness, swelling, loss of appetite, or colic.

The state veterinarian said once a horse is infected with EIA, they must be permanently quarantined or euthanized since there is no treatment or vaccine for EIA.

“EIA is a serious disease, with devastating consequences,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher said. “Horse owners should do what they can to minimize risk—including regular testing, taking steps to safeguard against biting insects, and practicing good animal husbandry. As always, contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your livestock.”

State law requires an annual Coggins test to check the presence of EIA before a horse is transported from its home farm to a different location. Dr. Hatcher said even though the paperwork is valid for one year, horse owners may want to think about testing livestock more frequently.

Other tips from Dr. Hatcher include:

Don’t co-mingle your horse with other, unfamiliar horses.

Do not share needles or any other medical supplies that come into contact with blood.

Keep the area in and around your barn clean to reduce the fly population.

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