Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)

On January 22, 2021, positive equine infectious anemia (EIA) results were confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) national reference laboratory for seven horses located on a premises in Lac Ste. Anne County, Alberta.


The CFIA had sampled several equines at the newly affected premises as part of a disease investigation that began in 2020. The property is home to an animal rescue organization and equines from many different sources have commingled there. Clinical signs compatible with EIA infection were noted by veterinarians when the animals were sampled. Improved biosecurity protocols have been strongly recommended to the owners of the organization to help control the ongoing spread of EIA and protect the national herd.


A CFIA investigation is underway and as per program policy, movement controls have been placed on the infected horses and any on-premises contact animals. Movement controls will remain until all disease response activities have been completed, including follow-up testing and ordering the destruction of confirmed cases. Trace-out activities may require the CFIA to undertake actions at additional premises as outlined in the current policy.


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On January 7, 2021, positive equine infectious anemia (EIA) results were confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) national reference laboratory for a horse located on a premises in the rural municipality of Kinistino, Saskatchewan.


The horse had been purchased in late summer and moved to the current premises along with a number of other horses. The horse was tested by an accredited veterinarian because it was exhibiting clinical signs that were compatible with EIA infection, it’s in a part of the province that has had several cases in at least four of the past ten years and was associated with the pony chuck wagon industry in that area.


A CFIA investigation is underway and as per program policy, movement controls have been placed on the infected horse and any on-premises contact animals. Initial reports indicate there are several other equines on the affected premises.


Movement controls will remain until all disease response activities have been completed, including follow-up testing and ordering the destruction of confirmed cases. Trace-out activities may require the CFIA to undertake actions at additional premises as outlined in the current policy.


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EIA, also known as “swamp fever,” is a viral disease of horses and other equids (i.e. donkeys, mules, and zebras) that causes recurrent episodes of fever, lethargy and destruction of red blood cells (anemia) and platelets (thrombocytopenia).


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.


In Canada, EIA is listed as a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act. Accordingly, when EIA is suspected, it must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

With neither cure nor vaccine in existence, veterinarians and ­researchers must supervise the equine infectious anemia virus ­closely to avoid widespread disease

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS)

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association 

Other Resources

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