In accordance with program policy, the CFIA is investigating and has adopted an official quarantine for the animal and its on-site contacts. Additional equines are reported as being at the affected premises.
The quarantine will remain in effect until all disease response protocols are completed, including follow-up testing and the order for euthanasia of confirmed cases. Depending on the policy, tracing activities may require the CFIA to adopt program protocols at other locations.
Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks the immune system in horses. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids from an infected animal to an uninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. It can also be transmitted through the use of instruments or needles contaminated with blood.
A Coggins test looks for antibodies in horses’ blood indicating the presence of the EIA virus. Most states in the US require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test to cross national borders.
Once an animal is infected with EIA, it is infected for life and can be a reservoir for the disease to spread. Not all horses show signs of illness, but those that do may show:
- Progressive loss of condition;
- Muscular weakness;
- Poor endurance;
- Depression; and
EIA has no vaccine or cure. A horse diagnosed with the disease dies, is euthanized, or must be placed under extremely strict quarantine conditions (at least 200 meters from unaffected equines) for the rest of its life.