LINCOLN – State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes announced that the equine infectious anemia (EIA) found earlier this month in one horse herd in northwestern Cherry County has not been found in other horses that had contact with the initial herd. The herd remains under quarantine and will receive additional testing in the next few months to ensure the disease issue has been fully addressed, Hughes said.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture began an epidemiological investigation earlier this month after 12 cases of EIA were found in the herd. Additional quarantines were issued on horses that were associated with the initial herd, but Hughes said test results on these animals have come back negative, and he believes the risk of additional horses contracting EIA is minimal.
Because there are no treatment options, 10 of the 12 horses confirmed to have the disease were humanely euthanized. The other two horses were taken to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, for work related to EIA testing.
Dr. Hughes said horse, mule and donkey owners should remain vigilant this summer by following biosecurity precautions to reduce the risk of infection in their herds, including: implement control measures, including husbandry practices, that reduce biting insects, such as horseflies and deerflies; follow the rule of one horse-one needle; and additions to herds should have a negative Coggins test before being allowed to intermingle with other equine. For more information related to actions to further protect horses visit: www.nda.nebraska.gov.
EIA symptoms include: fever, depression, weight loss, swelling and anemia. Producers with horses, donkeys or mules that exhibit these symptoms are urged to contact their veterinarian immediately.
Dr. Hughes said those who are importing horses into Nebraska for show/exhibition or other reasons must follow Nebraska’s horse import regulations, which include the requirement of a negative Coggins test – the test utilized to determine the presence of EIA. Producers with questions about import regulations should contact NDA at (402) 471-2351.