Swamp fever, also known as equine infectious anemia (EIA), is much scarier than it sounds. It is the HIV of the horse world with no cure. Horses infected with swamp fever stay infectious their whole lives. Swamp fever is spread by mainly by flies, although in the past cases of vet medical equipment spreading the disease have been found as well. While this outbreak seems localized to a county in Kentucky, it is time now for horse owners to be extra vigilant in keeping flies down and monitoring your horses. When your first gets the disease – if it is acute, she will have a high fever, weakness (due to anemia) and perhaps a bloat abdomen or legs. Be sure to keep your Coggins test updated – this how swamp fever is detected. Vets must be contacted in order to contain the disease. Let’s nip this outbreak in the bud now! ~ HfH
From: The Horse
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is reporting today that during the past two weeks, four horses in Western Kentucky’s Marshall County have tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). These are the first Kentucky horses found positive for the viral disease since 2007.
A private veterinarian tested and found the initial horse positive, with the remaining three (3) cases discovered through testing conducted as part of a KDA investigation. Each of the horses were confirmed positive by additional testing and have since been humanely destroyed and buried. Seven additional “cohorts” tested negative on the initial testing. These seven remain under quarantine and will be sampled periodically during the next 60 days.
Though authorities are unable to definitively determine the route of transmission, they have not ruled out iatrogenic (inadvertent veterinary) transmission. The fact that one group of seven horses were commingled in a confined location the past 10 months with no evidence of transmission minimizes chance of natural transmission having occurred.
The horses testing positive are described as pleasure riding horses that have resided on one of two farms for several years and range in age from 6 to 21 years. When the KDA evaluated the positive horses, they found them to be asymptomatic (not showing clinical signs) and in good body condition. The older horses were all reported to have been purchased through livestock markets, and as such would have been tested negative at the time of purchase. These pleasure horses have not regularly participated in events that would require they be routinely tested and are defined as representing the “untested population.”