Veterinary Diagnostics Companies and Testing for the Equine Infectious Anemia Virus


Clinical diagnostics laboratory

Veterinary diagnostics companies provide a variety of essential laboratory services for veterinarians and their clients. In addition to determining food safety, veterinary diagnostics companies also perform heartworm, Parvo, and other antigen tests. A veterinary laboratory can also test for the equine infectious anemia virus as well. Approximately two million people own horses throughout the United States. Given this, the equine infectious anemia virus is of great concern.

How the Equine infectious Anemia Virus Is Transmitted

It’s been determined that a single horsefly may pick up this virus from one horse and then transmit it to other horses. The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) states that other blood-sucking insects such as deer flies and mosquitos can also pick up and transmit this disease. As little as one-fifth of a teaspoon of infected blood is able to infect 10,000 horses with the equine infectious anemia virus.

According to the AAEP, the virus can also be transferred in-utero from a mare to her foal. It may also be transmitted through the mare’s milk. Other ways that the disease can be transmitted include blood transfusions and blood-contaminated needles and instruments. The virus has also been detected in horse semen.

Signs of Possible Exposure

Horses exposed to equine infectious anemia virus may or may not show early signs that they are infected. In as short a time period as two to three weeks, however, a horse can die after exhibiting acute signs.There are a variety of possible signs of exposure. The AAEP does indicate, however, that symptoms will usually vary and may include one or more signs of the disease. These are some of the possible indicators:

  • Anemia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Sweating

    • Most infected horses, however, may be inapparent carriers. This means that they don’t exhibit any overt clinical abnormalities once they’ve been infected. Instead, they appear to serve as reservoirs for this infection over an extended period of time. As a result, when their blood is tested, they possess significantly lower concentrations of the virus than other horses. This is particularly the case when compared to other horses that are exhibiting active clinical signs.

      How to Reduce Exposure

      It’s important to note that there isn’t any effective treatment, vaccine, or cure, according to the AAEP. In order to reduce the chance that other horses may become infected, it’s important to separate the horses that are believed to be infected from the others.

      When it is believed that one or more horses may be infected, an equine infectious anemia virus antibody test should be administered. Following the results obtained from veterinary diagnostics companies, it may be found that the horse is an inapparent carrier.

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