There are two million people within the United States that own one or more horses. Whether these horses live on farms, ranches, or elsewhere, it’s important to ensure that they are healthy. There are a variety of diseases, such as the equine infectious anemia virus, that may cause a horse to become sick and die within weeks.
How the Equine Infectious Anemia Virus Is Transmitted
This disease is transmitted through horseflies. Most horses, however, are referred to as inapparent carriers of the equine infectious anemia virus. It’s important to note that just one horsefly out of six million would be likely to pick up and transmit this disease from an inapparent carrier. Even though these carriers are infected, they don’t show any overt clinical abnormalities. Furthermore, they have lower concentrations of this disease in their blood than the horses that do show definite active clinical signs.
How to Recognize When a Horse Is Infected
Just a fifth of a teaspoon of blood from an infected horse contains a large enough viral load to infect 10,000 more horses. More specifically, this is the case when this blood comes from a horse during a feverish episode. Once a horse has been exposed to this virus, it may only take a matter of two to three weeks for them to develop severe, acute signs. In the event that this occurs, they are likely to die within this time period.
When Your Horses Should Have an Equine Infectious Anemia Virus Antibody Test
If a neighboring farm or ranch has had an outbreak of this virus, or you suspect that one or more of your horses has been exposed, you’ll want to contact your veterinarian. Since you want to ensure that your or horses horses are healthy, your veterinarian may want them to have an equine infectious anemia virus antibody test. After the test is administered, it will be sent to a veterinary diagnostics laboratory for evaluation.
There may be other tests that your veterinarian will want to run at this time. They may, for example, recommend food safety testing as well. Since there are a variety of services that are available through these diagnostic labs, your veterinarian will be able to assist you with doing your best to maintain the health of your horses.