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CathyJ

Should All Horses Be Tested For Eia?

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I once overheard a conversation in which someone said they won't do the Coggins test on their horse because if it comes back positive, their horse will be confiscated and either euthanized or quaranteed for life....which is true.

But that made me think, wouldn't testing for EIA (Equine Infectious Anemia) be the responsible thing for a horse owner to do?

I'd hate to lose my horse, but yet I don't want to be spreading a deadly disease to other horses.

I live on a road one mile long, there are at least 50 horses, besides my two, living on this road. Not everyone on this road runs the Coggins test on their horses. Since EIA is spread by biting insects, if one horse on this road has EIA, aren't all the other horses in the area at risk? EIA is incurable, and there is no vaccine to prevent it. I don't usually hear of too many positive results from the test, although my vet told me there were two positives here in southern Illinois this spring, not in my county, but about 60 miles away. I've also heard of some positives in Missouri last year.

So my question(s) is, do you think all horses should be tested annually for EIA? Now I realize that a horse can acquire the disease in so little as a day after the test, and every day until the next test, but testing every horse annually could help weed out some carriers. Would you volunteerily have your horse tested even if you didn't need the Coggins papers for any other reason? Does anyone do this?

I get Coggins papers every year because I need them to go to trailrides, and I would probably still get them every year even if I didn't go to trailrides because I never know if I'll need to transport my horses somewhere, or maybe sell one, or some other reason. But I can't say for sure if I would get Coggins papers solely because it's the responsible thing to do. Would you?

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I wonder, when was the last case of EIA reported? I have never known anyone to have a Coggins test come back positive, nor have I ever known anyone to lose a horse to EIA. That being said, I am thrilled that my barn, local shows, and even transporting a horse requires proof of a negative Coggins test. Its a small blood sample, and a small price to pay for piece of mind.

While I would hate to lose my horse, if he was positive for EIA, I'd either lose him because of a positive Coggins test, or because EIA killed him, either way, he's lost right? By getting a Coggins done, sure I would lose him if he were positive, but it would prevent others from losing their horse, so I'd rather my horse not suffer, and be responsible for other horses' dying.

ETA: YES, all horses should be tested.

Edited by RickisSweetSmoke

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I think they need a more reliable way... Because in the year time span between the tests your horse can get infected and spread it to a bunch of other horses..

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I think required coggin's testing is a good thing. Most states only require it if you move the horse. I worry about that. I am also in an area with a decent amount of horses. I know my neighbors test. But the other two large places around me.. shot in the dark there.. one I'm pretty sure never does. :confused0024:

I am happy to see that AQHA is starting to test for Piroplasmosis at the world shows now. Might be something to look into for every show. http://www.aqha.com/News/News-Articles/03092011-Equine-Piroplasmosis.aspx

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Last case in Missouri was Feb of 2011. 2 horses tested positive and were euth'ed 1 was tested three times and tested niether pos or neg, the lab that was doing the testing bought 2 gallons of blood from that one for futher research.

So yes I think they should be tested.

Also 794(?) or something like that horses in the surrounding area were tested.

Edited by docsgoldenbee

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While I would hate to lose my horse, if he was positive for EIA, I'd either lose him because of a positive Coggins test, or because EIA killed him, either way, he's lost right?

I'm not positive of this, but I think a horse can be a carrier, but not show signs of EIA. Anyone know for sure?

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I'm not positive of this, but I think a horse can be a carrier, but not show signs of EIA. Anyone know for sure?

That's my understanding. I found this article on the AAEP website. (American Association of Equine Practitioners.)

Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is a potentially fatal disease that threatens the world?s horse, donkey and mule populations. The virus that causes EIA reproduces in the white blood cells that circulate throughout the body. The immune system, via antibodies, may attack and destroy red blood cells, leading to anemia. Infected horses may die from the direct effects of the virus or from secondary infections.

Despite testing and measures to eradicate the equine infectious anemia virus, EIA, several hundred new cases are identified each year in the U.S. There is no cure for EIA. Although most horses show no symptoms, they remain contagious for life, endangering the health of other horses. For this reason, the United States Department of Agriculture and state animal health regulatory agencies require euthanasia or strict lifelong quarantine for horses testing positive for EIA.

Your horse?s only protection against EIA is prevention. Good management practices can reduce the potential of infection. The following guidelines from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) will help:

? Use disposable needles and syringes, one per horse, when administering vaccines and medications.

? Sterilize dental tools and other instruments before using them on another horse.

? Test all horses for EIA at least annually.

? Test horses at the time of purchase examination.

? Stable owners, horse show and event managers should require and verify current negative Coggins certificates for all horses entering the premises.

? New horses should be quarantined for 45 days and observed for any signs of illness, including elevated temperatures, before introducing them to the herd. They should be retested if exposure to EIA is suspected at a 45-day interval.

? All stable areas should be kept clean, dry and waste-free. Good pasture management techniques should also be practiced. Remove manure and provide adequate drainage to discourage breeding sites for pests.

? Horses at greater risk, such as those in frequent contact with outside horses or who live or travel in geographic regions known for EIA outbreaks, should be tested more frequently, every 4 to 6 months.

For more information about EIA, read ?Equine Infectious Anemia: The Only Protection is Prevention,? written by the AAEP in conjunction with Educational Partner, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its nearly 10,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

I have heard the argument made that since most horses show no symptoms from EIA, forcing quarantine or euthanasia on an asymptomatic carrier to protect other horses (most of whom would also be asymptomatic) is an overreaction. I've even heard conspiracy theories that the whole thing is just a way to get us all the spend the 20-30 bucks per year to get the Coggins test. :confused0024:

Haven't studied the whole history closely enough to form an opinion myself yet, but thought I'd mention that those arguments are out there. For myself--I test, every year, even if I'm not planning on taking the horse anywhere. Want that paperwork in my trailer in case of an emergency vet trip or evacuation.

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It makes sense to me. When my horse was alive, he was tested ever year. I look at it like FeLV(feline leukemeia) testing for cats. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for EIA.

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We test every year. For the obvious reasons, but because every time we go off the property, you could be asked to show it, and its alot easier to have the vet just do it when they're here for vaccinations.

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Well, there is much more to the EIA thing than is apparent on the surface. It has long been known that many horses that recover from the initial bout with EIA completely recover. They remain carriers of the antibodies only. They are still considered 'inapparent carriers' by The Veterinary world because they cannot differentiate between the horses that are sick and can spread the disease and those that are completely recovered and only carry the antibodies, so they kill or quarantine them all.

I have known many horses that were positive and several that were not put down and they never spread it to another horse. I bred two reactor mares every year that the owner would bring and keep in a trailer out on the county road when they were ready to breed. I would inseminate each one and they had several healthy foals many years after first being tested positive. They never gave it to another horse.

Not very many years ago a big ranch in Ardmore took a 20+ year old mare to the sale one night because she was no longer breeding. She came up positive. They quarantined the whole ranch (which had over 100 horses) and the State tested all of them 3 different times. One other mare over 20 and their old King Ranch bred stud, also over 20 both came up positive. More than 100 other horses that ran with these same reactors tested negative three times. They put down their old stud and the other mare. All three were in good condition and healthy.

Then they tried to figure out just where they got the positive reactors. None of these horses had left the ranch and they did not have new horses coming in. Two were born there and the stud came as a yearling when Sam Daube bought him for the King Ranch. He was an old son of El Pobre.

The ranch hand remembered that 15 or 16 years earlier they had 4 or 5 horses get sick. They lost a lot of weight and 3 of them died and were drug off to their 'bone pile'. The Vet (a cow Vet) was called after the first 2 died and could not find anything wrong with the other sick ones. One more died and the others got better. They never had another sick horse and every horse they sold off of the place (including sons and daughters of the ones that got better) all tested negative, but they were not tested until they were 2 years old or older.

There was another ranch I knew well with a very similar story in Grand Junction, Colorado when I lived there. Same deal. The sick horses got really sick and thin and the others recovered and never gave it to another horse. Their stud also go it and also recovered. They also kept their horses and only sold offspring after they were old enough to test clean.

The actual 'hot horses', as they are referred to, get very sick, lose hundreds of pounds and usually die. They have literally millions of virus cells in a drop of blood. They are VERY hot. If they have good enough immune systems to get over it, the ones I have run into never ever spread it to another horse -- but, they still have antibodies.

I have heard of horses that had periodic outbreaks of fever and weight loss, but I have never seen one nor have the Vets I know of ever seen one. I have seen sick horse that later proved to be hot horses and they were not going to go to any show or trail ride. The only horses I have seen look as bad or as sick as the 'hot' horses I have seen were horses that were dying of rabies.

My Vet of many years in Colorado told me that when the Govt was clearing up the Bruculosis outbreaks, they held several meetings to figure out what they were going to do will all of the State Vets and Federal Vets on the payrolls and they decided to institute the EIA requirements. At that time there were a lot of cases in Mississippi and Louisiana but not much anywhere else. The other outbreaks were on racetracks where horses came from the southeast and then dirty needles were blamed for spreading it. The isolated pockets on ranches are a complete mystery and a few still pop up with no connection to any other known cases or sick horses. All of our testing has never gotten rid of all of them.

My own greatest fear is some poor, skinny horse down the road -- during the summer -- that dies without every having a Vet called and never being tested for any reason. I am sure I had one several years ago. I got her from a local man (without a Coggins Test) and shortly after that she started dropping weight and running a fever. It was winter and I talked to my Vet about her. No matter what I did, she kept losing weight. We gave her every blood builder and all the feed she would eat and did everything for her the Vet recommended. The Vet mentioned right away that it sure could be EIA, but said we should treat her and see where it went and not test her since it was winter. He just warned us to be very careful. We burned every syringe and needle we used and always handled or doctored her at the end of the day. I had 3 CBCs done and the last one showed she had a 3 hemoglobin and a 9.5 PCV. The breeding season was almost ready to start and I knew if I had her tested the place would be shut down and I was standing several stallions at the time. I told my husband the only thing to do was put her down before broodmares (or insects) arrived here. He was getting ready to put her down when we went out and we found her dead. The old Vet that warned me NOT to get her tested just grinned when I told him. He said he would bet the farm that she had EIA and the smartest thing I ever did was not to get her tested after she got sick. My options would not have been the same had it not been winter. I also never bought ANY horse after that without a test. Later, I heard that the guy south of town that I bought her from had lost a couple of horses about that same time. She was not sick when I bought her but was within a week so I just know she had been exposed to it there. Whatever, Ihave never had another one -- before or since.

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It makes sense to me. When my horse was alive, he was tested ever year. I look at it like FeLV(feline leukemeia) testing for cats. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for EIA.

Yes, there is. But not for public consumption. It's called the Chinese Live Attenuated Vaccine and a research farm in MA has it.

EIA Vaccine

For those of you who feel safe because your horse is tested once a year, don't. The test is only good for the moment the blood's drawn. Your horse could be bitten by an infected mosquito 30 seconds later.

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Sure he could. But I still need the paperwork if I have to haul him somewhere in an emergency. So I pay the few bucks and have the test.

That sounded a bit defensive, which is strange, because there was nothing said that would suggest you not get the test done. No one suggested you break the law by not testing. What was said is a horse can test negative on Tuesday morning, get bitten Tuesday night, be tested again in a month and test positive. Then the owner, assuming their horse is negative because he's asymptomatic, takes said horse to a show, a fair, a trail ride, shows the required neg. Coggins and figures they're good to go. Meanwhile, it's very possible for that horse assumed to be negative, because he was the day the blood was drawn, to go around for an entire year infecting other horses. The test is good ONLY for the day it's drawn. The horse can become infected at anytime after that and the owner will still assume the horse is neg because they have a piece of paper that says so.

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The test is only good for the moment the blood's drawn. Your horse could be bitten by an infected mosquito 30 seconds later.

I guess my reasoning is if it is only proof for THAT MOMENT OF THE BLOOD DRAW ... then it does NO GOOD the rest of the 364days, 23hours, 59minutes, 59seconds between the next blood draw.

It seems ridiculous to have a yearly test that can *NEVER* be a guarantee of health after the test. Why bother even requiring every horse be tested for it? But I guess the real question is who is making money off this required test?

Is it more beneficial than it is useless or is it more useless than beneficial? From the horse's and horse-owners' POV, only ... I'd say it is more useless.

Edited by Heidi n Q

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http://www.myhorse.com/coggins-test-and-equine-infectious-anemia-eia.html#top

If I had my horses on my own property and did not take them anywhere, I would not test either.

There is a ranch down here in FL that takes in the positive horses...but they also have negative horses as well. They have NEVER, in all their years in operation, had a negative horse turn positive after being exposed to the positive horses. They do not do any sort of contamination procedures either. All horses are housed together.

Unfortunately, the current test just tests for antibodies- antibodies does not mean your horse has the disease.

Being EIA positive does not mean the horse has an automatic death sentence if government orders weren't involved.

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Blondyb -- that is exactly what I was saying about all of the ranches that I know that have had a recovered or exposed reactor that is now healthy. I, too, have never seen one pass on the disease unless they were sick, debilitated, had a high fever and were ready to die. All of the other exposed horses I have seen are healthy and have never passed it on. They ONLY have the antibodies for the rest of their lives.

The Vets I know that have studied it in depth as well as I have never seen an inapparent carrier. We have only seen inappearant antibody carriers like the horses in Fla.

When you breed a mare that has antibodies, her foal with react positive for about 5 or 6 months. If you test them a 8 months, they are all negative. The people we bred mares for that had reactor mares waited one year and they never had a bad test come back.

I personally think it is one of the biggest frauds using false scare tactics that has ever been perpetrated on the horse owning public. Just think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been spent on Coggins Tests.

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I personally think it is one of the biggest frauds using false scare tactics that has ever been perpetrated on the horse owning public. Just think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been spent on Coggins Tests.

I agree. Look at how many people in this thread alone take it more serious than it is. It would be very doubtful that a horse would get EIA from a neighboring horse. I think the government had to give the public SOMETHING to ease their fears, so, they gave them this test and unfortunately, the horses pay with their lives when most of the time, it isn't needed.

People like to say that the test has helped to eradicate the disease, but I think it was just a natural occurrence.

I am going to use the black plague as an example, but I have not read up much about it, so, I may get things wrong BUT, the black plague come out of nowhere did it not? Yet, it went away as well. We don't have any vaccines for it, tests I am not sure? But what has kept the disease at bay??

I think sometimes, diseases will come through somewhere unexpectedly and we just have to deal with them. We don't have the answer for everything.

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Blondyb, Where is the ranch you speak of in FL? About 30 years back in Sarasota FL there was a large parcel of land where the Skee-A-Rees performed. If there was a horse that turned up positive, they took the horses and they were used in a riding program on this property.I don't know how many succumbed to EIA, but it was successful as most were useful.

My feelings, if I want to take the horses to the parks when we ride out it's required. I don't have much choice in the matter. That's just it, you can't control how others vet their animals around you. It's one of those things you hope on a wing and a prayer.

Edited by Floridacracker

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I think in the very beginning (long before testing became a requirement), the test did help get rid of large numbers of infected horses. The "HOT" horses, those that have the extreme symptoms, usually die without ever being tested.

If you asked your State Vet "When was the last horse that came up positive in that particular state that was actually sick?", he cannot tell you. But, the one I asked said "Off the record, I cannot recall one single 'carrier' that displayed any symptoms."

There is some unknown source of the occasional horse that actually gets sick and dies. There are still a few pockets of reactors and all of those that I have run into had one very sick horse that died at some time -- usually years earlier. Like the big Daube Ranch in Ardmore, OK. They had 3 horses die suddenly nearly 20 years earlier. Nobody knows where they got exposed as they have a 'closed herd'. But their other reactors were no doubt bit by blood sucking insects, were exposed and recovered only to be 'carriers' until they were found years later and had to be killed.

This is still typical today. The occasional horse that gets sick and dies, (usually without ever being tested because they are too sick to go anywhere) still just comes out of nowhere. It is not the slick, fat horse that the person next to you is riding on a trail ride.

Like I said before, my only fear about EIA is that there will be some very sick horse 'pop up' and die near during the summer and it will never be tested before it dies.

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Blondyb, Where is the ranch you speak of in FL? About 30 years back in Sarasota FL there was a large parcel of land where the Skee-A-Rees performed. If there was a horse that turned up positive, they took the horses and they were used in a riding program on this property.I don't know how many succumbed to EIA, but it was successful as most were useful.

My feelings, if I want to take the horses to the parks when we ride out it's required. I don't have much choice in the matter. That's just it, you can't control how others vet their animals around you. It's one of those things you hope on a wing and a prayer.

Floridacracker, the ranch I am talking about is in South Florida... Fort Lauderdale. Here is their website: http://www.eiahorses.org/

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Thanks for all this information, it has given me some different perspectives on the EIA issue. I don't think I'd feel too guilty for not getting a Coggins test, but for now I'm forced to in order to do some traveling.

Just don't get me started on the 30-day health certificate for traveling out of state, now THAT is a real ripoff. :rolleye0014:

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And let's just suppose that all horses were tested and any that are positive are quarantined or destroyed......first of all that simply isn't going to happen as there will be horses out on rangeland, hidden behind the barn, off on a trail ride etc. that just miss getting done. Secondly...what of the feral herds? My own area has a herd of between 47 and 60 some animals. They come down to the hay stacks, to the fencelines, sometimes breaking into fields. Is BLM going to round all of them up each year and test them? What of the ones not on BLM land? Do you think the western states have the funds to do this every year and not miss a single horse?

I personally think it is a gigantic money scheme for state labs. It only tests to see if your horse has the antibodies to this virus ON THE DAY HE'S TESTED. If he'd been bitten days before or any time during the next year the test completely misses a potentially positive horse.

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Thanks for all this information, it has given me some different perspectives on the EIA issue. I don't think I'd feel too guilty for not getting a Coggins test, but for now I'm forced to in order to do some traveling.

Just don't get me started on the 30-day health certificate for traveling out of state, now THAT is a real ripoff. :rolleye0014:

I am located in Southern IL too, I haven't heard of any reported EIA cases down here? Last I heard there were 2 reported cases from Michigan this year? I also think that horses should be tested yearly for the virus.

Note that the disease can not be transmitted through mosquitoes. Its vector are biting flies, primarily the horsefly. The virus can only survive 15-30 minutes in the fly so horses need to be in close proximity for transmission to occur. With this I understand why the test is not mandated for all horses, but I really think that if it was we could reduce the spread of EIA even more.

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I don't remember if it was for the State of Florida or ALL of U.S. but I remember reading somewhere that only 20% of horses are tested. Not really much in the grand scheme of things and certainly wouldn't eradicate a disease.

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I am located in Southern IL too, I haven't heard of any reported EIA cases down here? Last I heard there were 2 reported cases from Michigan this year?

My vet is Marc Miles, he told me a few weeks ago there were two positives this spring, and I think he said Jackson County, but I'm not sure of that. But I know it was a southern county of Illinois.

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My vet is Marc Miles, he told me a few weeks ago there were two positives this spring, and I think he said Jackson County, but I'm not sure of that. But I know it was a southern county of Illinois.

Oh well thats alarming. I am located in Jackson county. I use Dr. Miles for somethings too... small world.

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I am going to use the black plague as an example, but I have not read up much about it, so, I may get things wrong BUT, the black plague come out of nowhere did it not? Yet, it went away as well. We don't have any vaccines for it, tests I am not sure? But what has kept the disease at bay??

I think sometimes, diseases will come through somewhere unexpectedly and we just have to deal with them. We don't have the answer for everything.

No, the bubonic/pneunomic plague did not come out of nowhere and no, it didn't go away. It existed long before the black death pandemic you're probably refering to and it still exists today. One could easily turn what you said around to support the opposing viewpoint- scientific advances and the development of methods to detect and prevent the plague have greatly contributed to it becoming a disease many think of as being "gone".

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No, the bubonic/pneunomic plague did not come out of nowhere and no, it didn't go away. It existed long before the black death pandemic you're probably refering to and it still exists today. One could easily turn what you said around to support the opposing viewpoint- scientific advances and the development of methods to detect and prevent the plague have greatly contributed to it becoming a disease many think of as being "gone".

And what scientific advances do we have in place to do that detects and prevents the plague?

What I did mean WAS the black death pandemic. I know it was caused by fleas from rats on a ship.

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