Viral Horse Disease in Marshall Co. Leads Veterinarians to Recommend All Horses Be Tested

Oct 8, 2015

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Veterinarians are recommending that all horses in west Kentucky be tested for a viral disease after four horses in Marshall County tested positive for equine infectious anemia early last month. 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture reports the four horses with equine infectious anemia have been humanely destroyed and buried. Seven other horses from the site remain under a 60 day quarantine.

Breathitt Veterinary Center Director Debbie Reed said the disease spread because one of the horses went many years without being tested.

“It is important for all horses to be tested at least yearly. That’s the best way for us to track the disease and to stop it from spreading,” Reed said.

Reed said EIA is primarily spread through insect bites but can also spread through vaccination procedures.

“One of the things that I would recommend is to make certain that they use good fly control,” Reed said. “I would also caution horse owners to make sure that if they’re giving their horse vaccines, that use a new needle every single time they give an injection.”

According to Reed, horses within a few miles of the affected site are at risk of contracting the disease but all horses in Western Kentucky should be tested. She emphasized there is no need for horse owners to panic.

This is the first case of EIA in Kentucky since 2007.