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Un-treatable disease, equine infectious anemia, detected in horses at Clark County facility

Horse in field
Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 22:27:35-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A horse facility in Clark County was quarantined after equine infectious anemia was detected there during routine testing, the Nevada Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday.

Equine infectious anemia is transmitted through blood contact, agriculture officials said. The disease can cause fever, weakness, swelling, irregular heartbeat and low red blood cell count.

"It cannot be transmitted to humans and is not a public health risk, therefore details about the facility cannot be released," according to state law, NDA officials clarified.

All horses at the facility where the disease was detected will undergo testing to prevent further spread of the disease. NDA officials also encouraged horses that attended an event in Washoe County during the month of June to test for EIA.

"We are working closely with local veterinarians and the facility to address the situation and prevent the potential spread of disease," state veterinarian Dr. Amy Mitchell said.

There is no treatment for EIA, officials said. The disease is only spread through contaminated blood and can only be contracted by equine species, including horses, donkeys and mules.

“While there is no treatment for EIA, it can only be spread by contaminated blood of an infected horse,” Mitchell said. “Infected horses may not show symptoms but remain carriers for life, making routine testing key to prevention of spread of this disease.”

Officials with the Nevada Department of Agriculture also issued a reminder that any equine species is required to have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and submit proof of a negative EIA test within 12 months before entering Nevada. Negative EIA tests are also required for movement between states and for importation into the U.S., officials said. When veterinarians diagnose an animal with EIA, they are required to report it to the state agriculture department.

The NDA shared this list of horse health safety measures recommended to reduce chances of an infectious disease being transferred:

  • Never share equipment between horses. Single-use medical equipment such as needles, syringes, and IV lines should never be re-used, and should never be shared between different horses. Dental tools and other instruments should be fully sterilized between horses.
  • Practice good fly control by keeping stalls dry, removing standing water, managing manure, and using fly deterrents and repellants.
  • Horses should have a routine testing schedule for EIA and should be tested prior to attending events.
  • Test horses at the time of purchase examination. Work with a veterinarian on a quarantine and/or retesting protocol prior to introducing a new horse to current horses. Before purchasing, get as much background information on the horse including any domestic or international travel or importation.
  • Any horses entering the U.S. from other countries require testing and quarantine prior to entry.

Horses suspected to be ill should be reported to their veterinarian for appropriate care, officials said. Visit the Nevada Department of Agriculture's website for more information.