Equine Infectious Anemia Case In Lacombe, Alberta

On October 19, 2017,  a positive Equine Infectious Anemia result was confirmed by the CFIA in a horse located in  Lacombe county, Alberta.  The horse was tested as a compliance measure for horses being exported.  As a result,  the horse in question has been quarantined as have the on-premise contacts, and after the inspection has been completed,  the horse will be euthanized.

The Equine Disease Communication Center reports that on October 19, 2017, a positive Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) result was confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) national reference laboratory for a horse located on premises in Lacombe County, Alberta. This animal had been sampled by the CFIA to comply with export conditions and no clinical signs of the disease were reported. A CFIA investigation is currently underway and as per program policy, a quarantine has been placed on the infected animal and its on-premises contacts. Initial reports indicate that there are several equine animals on the premises. The quarantine will remain until all follow-up testing has been completed and the positive horse is euthanized. Source – http://equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks

There are known horse feedlot(s) in Lacombe, AB, therefore there’s a good likelihood the horse is located at one of them.  If this is the case,  the discovery of EIA in even one horse poses serious problems for the export of other horses located on the same lot, primarily because Canada has officially certified that all horses exported from Canada are free of “outbreaks of…….equine infectious anemia…..”

EIA Veterinary Health Certification for Japan (received by ATI request) Listed on CFIA website under – “Horses – Animal Health Certificates and Sanitary Requirements for Export” – http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/terrestrial-animals/exports/live-animals/health-certificates/horses/eng/1369625441661/1369625442848#listj

While there is no human health risk, a feedlot would not be an unexpected place for EIA to be found in any case.  Horses are at greater risk of contracting EIA under the following circumstances:

  • Close proximity to regions where EIA outbreaks have occurred;
  • Pastures in damp, swampy areas where insects are abundant;
  • Environments with a steady influx of new horses, especially if negative Coggins certificates are not required;
  • Exposure to horses at shows, sales or other events where health care regulations are not enforced and a negative Coggins certificate is not required

Canada does have a national program to reduce the risk of infection, but it’s currently unknown whether premises with volumes of horses are subject to 100% testing protocols or merely sampling.  Privately owned horses who are moved about for shows or to new barns are generally asked for or required to provide a negative Coggins test within the last year.

The CHDC will be watching for further developments in this case.


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