Two horses in British Columbia have been found to be carrying an infectious and potentially fatal viral disease.
In early December, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA’s) national reference confirmed the animals had contracted equine infectious anemia (EIA) in B.C.’s Cariboo area.
The horses had been sampled by an accredited veterinarian at the owner’s request as exposure to EIA was suspected. No clinical signs of disease were noted at the time of sampling.
According to the agency, most EIA-infected horses remain carriers of the virus for life and can be a source of infection for susceptible animals.
CFIA protocol is to inform relevant provincial veterinary services of any newly affected premises, update its monthly Federally Reportable Disease table online, and communicate with the owners or persons directly involved in the case.
The agency is currently investigating further and quarantine has been placed on the infected horses and surrounding animals.
The separation will continue until all disease response activities have been completed, including follow-up testing and ordering the destruction of positive cases.
One thought on “Equine infectious disease found in B.C.”
I am an accredited veterinarian that has dealt with multiple cases of EIA over the last 31 years in private practice in the Cariboo. I have dealt with the heart ach of dealing with destruction of positive cases and the impact on my clients. I need to advocate for those clients who have been affected over the years. As a result, I feel it is important for us all to understand that the CFIA is not as responsible as the article in the Veterinary Practice News may imply.
It is very important for all accredited veterinarians to know that the CFIA does not alert us of positive reportable diseases in our practice area until long after the general public has been informed through other general equine media sources. This was the case with these positive EIA infected horses. This is a fundamental problem when the CFIA makes it mandatory for us to report any suspect cases yet they do not advise those of us on the front line, even when they have confirmed cases.
It is also very important for all veterinarians to know that the trace back for contact cases of EIA is only 30 days. From the time that these cases were diagnosed there was no possibility of transmission in the preceding 30 days other than direct contact between horses. We had fall and winter in the Cariboo and no vectors during that time. As a result the CFIA is not serving the horse industry by not doing a seasonally appropriate trace back. As a general horse industry we need to request or demand more effective leadership by the CFIA. The article would imply that the CFIA is doing a responsible job of protecting our horse clients and their horses. however , I would challenge that the CFIA is falling short of the mark !