Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)

Alberta - On June 30, 2021, positive equine infectious anemia (EIA) results were confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) national reference laboratory for two horses located on a premises in the Municipal District of Bonnyville, Alberta.


The horses had been tested by an accredited veterinarian at the owner’s request to fulfill a requirement prior to being exported to the US. No clinical signs were noted at the time of sampling. These horses participated in rodeo events.


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. 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. Improved biosecurity protocols have been strongly recommended to the owners to help control the ongoing spread of EIA and protect the national herd.


On June 23, 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 Municipal District of Bonnyville, Alberta.


The horse had been tested by an accredited veterinarian at the owner’s request because it was exhibiting clinical signs compatible with EIA infection. For humane reasons it had to be euthanized shortly after sampling due to its rapidly deteriorating condition.


The horse had been adopted earlier in the year and had been at the new location for several months. A CFIA investigation is underway and movement controls were placed on the on-premises contact animals as per program policy.


Initial reports indicate there are 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. Improved biosecurity protocols have been strongly recommended to the owners to help control the ongoing spread of EIA and protect our national herd.


More information can be found on the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) Equine Diseases Dashboard or through the Disease Alerts Tool.


Alberta - On June 11, 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 County of Grande Prairie, Alberta.


The horse had been tested by an accredited veterinarian at the owner’s request to comply with a boarding facility requirement. No clinical signs of disease were noted by the veterinarian at the time of testing.


The horse had previously participated in the pony chuck wagon circuit. 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.


For more information on EIA go to https://aaep.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Outside%20Linked%20Documents/DiseaseFactsheet_EIA%20Cobranded.pdf;


More information can be found on the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) Equine Diseases Dashboard or through the Disease Alerts Tool.


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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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