equine infectious anemia update in canada--july 20, 2017 · equine infectious anemia update in...
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Equine Infectious Anemia Update in Canada--July 20, 2017
On July 20, 2017 Global Vet Link hosted a webinar to update veterinarians and industry on Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) in Canada. This is the disease we test for with the Coggins test. The first speaker was Dr. Carolyn James, DVM with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). She summarized the disease and discussed the control program currently in place in Canada. Briefly:
• All equids are affected including horses, donkeys and mules
• Traditionally know as "Swamp fever"
• It is caused by a VIRUS that infects the host animal FOR LIFE
• There is no cure and no vaccine available
• It does not affect humans
• Spread by biting insects, particularly the large "hack and slash" types such as horse flies and deer flies.
• Contaminated equipment and needles are another source of spread
• 200 meters is considered the safe distance between animals as this is typically the distance the flies will go between feedings.
• If the disease is suspected or confirmed it is immediately require to be reported to the CFIA which then is obligated to report to the OIE, an international association.
SIGNS OF THE DISEASE Signs of the disease are non specific to EIA and variable, thus blood samples are required the confirm. Signs include fever, poor performance, anemia FORMS OF THE DISEASE 1) Acute - sickness apparent and can lead to sudden death 2) Chronic - more subtle longer term illness 3) Inapparent - no clinical signs and are CARRIERS of the disease FOR LIFE Note: Stress such as travelling, breeding, other illness, etc can cause a # 3 inapparent horse to convert to a # 1 acutely ill horse. CONTROL OF THE DISEASE In Canada there is a control program not an eradication program. Currently this control has two components:
1) Owner initiated testing (for export, industry requirement, to rule out disease 2) The CFIA response to a positive case WHAT HAPPENS IF A HORSE TESTS POSITIVE? If a horse tests positive the CFIA proceeds with their protocols. In general, the positive horse will likely be euthanized and the herd mates tested. Any other positives are also euthanized and the remaining herd mates tested again after a specified number of days. This repeats until the herd is negative.
The information from the other two speakers, Dr. Greg Evans, DVM from Moore Equine, and Brian Zwaan from Prairie Diagnostic Labs at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, will be summarized in a question/answer fashion. When should I test my horse for EIA?
• When you purchase a new horse at the point of sale or at the pre-purchase exam
• When there are suspect cases close by
• When travelling to competitions, the trainers, different barns
What is involved in testing for EIA? Your veterinarian must be accredited with the CFIA for EIA testing. The horse is given a physical exam and the paper work is filled out. This includes the location of whorls, scars and brands as well as markings. Digital forms are now available and some veterinarians are opting for this method. A blood sample is collected from the jugular vein. The sample is then sent to a diagnostic laboratory certified for EIA testing. When can I expect the results? Typically results can be emailed or faxed within 1-3 business days. It can take up to 1-2 weeks for the original papers to be returned. When is the best time of year to test? It is best to test just before or just after the vector season (i.e. when the biting insects are no longer a problem). For us, that is spring or winter. How can you say the test is good for 6 months 1 year if my horse can get infected after I test? The concept here is to control the disease. The test will identify carriers that may not be suspected of illness. How soon after exposure to the disease will a horse get infected? Approximately 10 days after exposure, the horse can have the disease. If a positive test can result in euthanasia and my horse is not sick, why should I test?
As tempting as it is to avoid testing and ignore the issue, it is important not only for the health of your horse but also all of those horses yours is in contact with. You wouldn't want to be responsible for spreading the disease and the euthanasia of other's horses. How can I find out where the positive cases are in Canada? Please visit the CFIA website by clicking on the link below. REFER TO THE CFIA WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION