Horse owners should take precaution to protect their animals, particularly if they’re purchasing or receiving animals from areas in western Canada from equine infectious anemia (EIA), officials say.
There has been one confirmed case in Red Deer County this year, with other confirmed cases in Beaver County and the County of Two Hills.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, EIA is an infectious and potentially fatal viral disease, which affects horses and other members of the equine family like donkeys and mules. It’s a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act, and most EIA-infected horses show no clinical signs of disease, however, they remain carriers of the virus for life and can be a source of infection for susceptible animals.
The incubation period of the disease is generally two to four weeks, but could range from one week to three months, according to the Canadian Food Inspection’s website. Infected horses could show signs of anorexia, depression, general weakness, jaundice and more.
When it comes to preventative measures, horse owners can reduce the risk of the disease by only attending horse events that require testing of all participating horses. Decisions on whether to require testing are made by the event organizers. Some on-farm measures producers can take is disposing of manure to limit breeding sites for flies and using sterilized or disposable needles.
For more information, visit http://www.inspection.gc.ca/.