Case of equine infectious anemia confirmed in Saskatchewan

A Saskatchewan horse has tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA), a viral disease that attacks horses’ immune systems and that is transmittable through bodily fluids.

The horse carrying the virus is in Rosemount No. 378, which is in west central Saskatchewan between Biggar and Landis, and encompasses the municipality of Cando.

According to the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System, the virus was detected after following testing protocols to enter an event.

An investigation is underway by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to determine if any other horses were exposed.

With cases of EIA, there is no cure and the disease is generally fatal either by natural causes, as the virus deteriorates the horses immune system, or by way of euthanasia. Alternatively, horses must be quarantined at least 200 yards away from other horses, for the rest of its life.

In this specific case, the horse is said to be under quarantine awaiting euthanasia. The other horse on the premises are also following quarantine protocols until further testing can be complete as the virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from an infected to an uninfected animal. This can happen through the use blood-contaminated instruments or needles, or by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies.