Understanding Equine Infectious Anemia and How it Affects Your Horse

Veterinary clinical diagnostics

Equine infectious anemia (EIA) is a common disease that affects horses and other Equidae population. It is a virus infection that may be transmitted by blood-feeding insects between horses in the same area. EIA can manifest itself as an acute, subacute, or chronic infection and although blood is the primary channel for infection, other body fluids can also infectious. A horse infected with EIA may exhibit symptoms such as anemia, leukopenia, fever, fatigue, sweating, decreased appetite among others. However, since EIA is difficult to ascertain, the symptoms may vary from horse to horse.

The equine infectious anemia virus antibody test is used to diagnose the presence of RNA virus in a horse. Occasionally, this virus can be a major cause of morbidity and fatality. A horse found to have this virus is infected for life and sadly, there is no cure for EIA even though most infected horses show little to no sign. That is why most state animal health regulatory agencies recommend strict measures to be taken by horse owners in curbing the spread of the virus. Measures such as euthanasia and permanent quarantine are popularly used for horses testing positive for EIAV.

When using the equine infectious anemia virus antibody test kit, you may be able to determine the extent of infection a horse is exposed to, but when it starts to exhibit severe, acute symptoms of the disease, it’s only a matter of weeks before the horse dies. This indicates how serious and fatal EIAV is to horses and animals of the same species. Normally, this virus multiplies in white blood cells of the horse and it then spread throughout the body. When the body detects foreigns antigens, EIAV, it sends antibodies to counter attack but in the process it ends up destroying red blood cells causing anemia.

In addition, the viral infection of equine infectious anemia will lead to inflammation of important body organs like liver, kidney and heart. Equine infectious anemia virus expression has three forms: Acute, chronic and inapparent.

This stage of infection is visible within the first 2 weeks and it is the most pernicious. Since there are no evident symptoms of infection, it may be challenging to detect and diagnose the horse. This is because no apparent antibodies have been produced hence signs of anemia are absent. However, the virus is reproducing and it starts to fight the immune system damaging other organs.

Since the virus manifests differently in different horses, it’s possible for a horse to survive the acute stage and enter the chronic phase. Here, symptoms of infection are evident and some of the classic signs include weight loss, depression, fever, and anemia. These signs repeat themselves as the condition of the horse become much worse.

If a horse manages to survive the first two phases, then they are infected for life and they automatically become carriers of the infection. With time, the periodic symptoms reduce as the infected horse take control of the infection. This period normally happens after one year.

Keeping your horse healthy and safe, it is important to conduct equine infectious anemia virus antibody test. This will help you decide on the right course of action for an infected horse and also protect other horses in your stable.