Equine Infectious anaemia case found in Devon

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18 October 2012 – Defra has confirmed a second case of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA, sometimes referred to as swamp fever) has been detected in a horse in Devon.

  • The affected horse will be humanely destroyed. Movement restrictions on the premises at which it was stabled, and other horses at that premises, have been put in place and a veterinary inquiry into the clinical history of the horse is underway.
  • This follows a previous case of EIA confirmed on 3 October 2012. Following this case, Defra conducted an investigation into the horse’s movement history which showed that it came into contact with the second horse now confirmed to have EIA.
  • Through this investigation, Defra can confirm that these two cases are linked to an incident of the disease confirmed in Devon in 2010. All three of the horses that have so far tested positive in the south west of England for the disease travelled into the UK together on the same batch in April 2008.
  • We are continuing to trace other horses imported on this batch in 2008 to ascertain whether any of these animals has the disease.

EIA is a notifiable disease and any owner or keeper who suspects a horse might have EIA must contact their local AHVLA office. Horse owners and vets should remain vigilant and report any suspicion of disease.

Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) is an exotic viral disease that affects horses, mules and donkeys. It is spread via biting insects.

The disease is notifiable: if you suspect the disease, you must immediately notify the duty vet in your local Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) office.

Horses are most likely to become infected when travelling abroad to areas or countries where the disease is endemic, or from the use of biological products infected with the EIA virus. The disease is often fatal to horses. In England infected animals are humanely destroyed to control its spread.

The clinical signs of EIA are variable, and depend on whether the horse has the acute, subacute or chronic form of the disease. Clinical signs of the acute form of the disease include fever, anaemia, swelling of the limbs and abdomen, and a weak pulse. In the subacute form of the disease, recurrent fever, weight loss, anaemia,and swelling of the lower chest, abdomen, sheath and legs. In the chronic form of the disease, the horse may be lethargic, with recurrent fevers and bouts of anaemia. However, some horses infected with the virus may show no clinical signs. Any potential cases should have a blood test to rule out the disease.

Scott Dunn’s Equine Clinic is part of CVS (UK) Limited, a company which owns over 300 veterinary practices in the UK. Company Registration Number 03777473. Registered Office CVS House, Owen Road, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4ER