Control and Prevention
prevention programs are initiated with a vaccination program. However,
there are no [veterinary] recognized vaccines available for Equine
Infectious Anemia Virus. The control and prevention program is
therefore based on herd management and surveillance (recognition of
EIAV-positive horses and proper quarantining, etc). (1, 5)
efforts to control this disease based on the elimination of clinically ill horses were
largely unsuccessful because infected but unapparent carriers perpetuated the disease
within the horse population and served as a continuous source of infection for
disease-free horses. In 1970, Dr. Leroy Coggins developed a diagnostic test for EIA using
an agar-gel immunodiffusion (AGID) reaction.(See Diagnosis) The Coggins' test is consistently reliable in
detecting the presence of antibodies regardless of whether the infection is acute, chronic
In 1971, EIAV was made a reportable disease in Canada, and the first EIAV program was
introduced in 1972.
The CFIA has put in place a program to regulate the control of EIAV:
This current program consists of two components. Under the first
component, horse owners can voluntarily pay to have their horses tested when
they are identified by the industry (required for shows, auctions, etc).
Testing is conducted by private veterinary practitioners and EIAV private laboratories
accredited by CFIA for that function. The second component of the program
is the mandatory response-for which the CFIA is responsible. Each time an EIAV positive horse is discovered, it must be reported to the CFIA and disease control
measures are implemented. All EIAV test-positive horses are retested and reactors with clinical signs
are ordered destroyed. Owners of horses that are confirmed positive for EIAV without
clinical signs must choose whether to either keep the horse in a permanent quarantine or
have it destroyed. In the later case, the CFIA orders the horse destroyed and pays
compensation. The government's part of the program is delivered at no charge to owners. The CFIA has not imposed the EIA program on horse owners, but has responded to a
request from the industry to administer a program that the majority of horse owners
support . As there is no effective treatment for EIAV and no vaccine to prevent it, the
disease can be successfully controlled by testing and the elimination of reactors
including unapparent ones. The Coggins test is an integral part of the CFIA control
EIAV does not pose a food safety risk and is not a public health concern, therefore the CFIA's
involvement is based on the furtherance of animal health in Canada.Agriculture Canada has suggestions to help control the spread of EIA:
No specific treatment or vaccine is available. As
EIAV-infected equids present the only known source of infection,
antibody-positive animals should be kept at a safe distance (~200 m)
from other equids. (5)
- Subjecting their
horse(s) to the Coggins’ test for EIA annually.
- Requiring a
negative Coggins’ Test certificate to accompany all horses entering
boarding stables, fairs, shows and race tracks.
- Not allowing their
horse(s) to come in close contact with horses of questionable health
- Controlling biting
flies and mosquitoes by developing a fly control procedure around the
- Using disposable
hypodermic needles to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Cleaning and
sterilizing all instruments by boiling for 15 minutes prior to reusing.
- Avoiding the
practice of interchanging equipment such as bridles, saddles, brushes
and bandages from one animal to another.
- Removing reactors promptly as directed
by Agriculture Canada
and cleaning and disinfecting the stables and surroundings