The state declined to name the locations of the horses other than to say they were in McNairy County at different places. The six horses are now quarantined and are being monitored by the state.
Tennessee’s Vet’s Office has a rule that all horses must be tested every year to see if they have the EIA. The horses that go to rodeos, saddle shoes or are co-mingled with other horses are more subject to getting the disease, said Dr. Charlie Hatcher, of the state office.
Dr. Hatcher said that if the horses show later that they have EIA the horse owner will have to either euthanize the horse or quarantine the horse for life. The horses have yet to show a clinical sign they have the deadly virus.
The doctor said that horses can get the disease from biting flies that are normally tough on the horses at this time of the year.
He recommended the only real way an owner could protect his horses would be to use insect repellent to battle horse flies that plague the horses in the summer.
Dr. Hatcher said the symptoms of a horse with EIA would be anemia and getting lethargic that becomes easily apparent to the owner of the horse. He said that some people call the disease “Swamp Fever.”
According to the UT Ag officials, there is no vaccination or cure for the disease, which only affects horses.
Veterinarians have said the state takes equine infectious anemia, also called Coggins, very seriously. Two separate tests are run by the State Veterinarian's Office. If the horse tests positive the second time, it either has to be euthanized on the premises, slaughtered or has to be quarantined 200 yards from any other horses.
Equine Infectious Anemia is a viral horse disease transmitted primarily by biting flies such as the horse fly and deer fly. Tennessee animal health regulations require annual testing of all horses that change ownership or are commingled with horses of multiple ownership.
A fact sheet on Equine Infectious Anemia can be found at the following link, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/content/printable_version/fs_equine_infectious_anemia.pdf. Questions related to the regulation of Equine Infectious Anemia can be directed to the State Veterinarian's office at 615-837-5120 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.