The Kansas Department of Agriculture Animal Health Division on Wednesday announced that two more horses in Finney County have tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia.
According to a press release from the KDA, a premises under official quarantine of EIA in Finney County presented all horse for the 60-retesting protocol.
“Two horses, which were previously EIA-negative, tested positive at this retest,” the release reads. “Both confirmed EIA-positive have been humanely euthanized. Both horses had been maintained on the premises under the official quarantine since August 11, 2017, pending the 60-day retest.”
According to KDA officials, specific locations of infectious areas are not released per KDA policy.
All other horses from this premises will remain under official quarantine for an additional 60 days pending a negative EIA test, according to the release.
In August, the Kansas Animal Health Commissioner was notified that a horse near Garden City tested positive for EIA after a routine Coggins Test — a blood test for horses — according to the KDA website. This initiated follow-up testing of all horses on the index premise, which resulted in the discovery of five additional EIA-positive horses, and one horse tested positive for Equine Piroplasmosis (EP).
According to the KDA, all horses on the premises have been humanely euthanized.
“All horses within a half-mile surveillance zone surrounding the index premises were tested,” the site says.
There are more than 40 exposed horses on six different premises where EIA-positive and EP-positive horses were found, all of which are under official quarantine pending retest.
All confirmed EIA-positive horses had recently been on the index premises, which was an unsanctioned, unofficial horse racing facility in Finney County.
“Everyone one of these confirmed positives, both the EIA and the equine piroplasmosis, were all on that index premises one time or another in the recent months,” Dr. Justin Smith, state animal health commissioner said during an EIA public information meeting in Garden City in September. “There was a huge connection between the horses. It was basically an unsanctioned race horse facility they were all on.”
The unsanctioned race horse facility is located in rural Garden City, Smith said previously.
Since the discovery of EIA in southwestern Kansas in August, a total of 15 horses have been humanely euthanized. Overall, nine horses in Finney County tested positive for EIA and three with EP; two in Kearny County tested positive for EIA and one horse in Haskell County tested positive for EP.
EIA is an incurable, infectious disease caused by a virus that can affect horses, donkeys, asses and other equine species. This disease does not affect humans, according to the KDA.
According to the KDA, the virus destroys red blood cells and is spread through blood-to-blood contact, not through close proximity or casual contact. Clinical signs of EIA include fever, anemia and edema. Affected horses may not show symptoms. All infected horses, including those which are asymptomatic, are carriers of the disease.
The virus can be transmitted from an infected equine to a “clean” equine by biting flies, the use of unsterilized or contaminated medical instruments, or through a blood transfusion.
EP is a tick-borne disease that effects horses, mules, donkeys and zebras.
Euthanasia is the what is recommended for horses that test positive for EIA or EP.
More than 1,300 horses have been tested for EIA since August, almost double when comparing it to 2016, which had 887.
Kansas has had nine positive horses in the last ten years; three in 2007, two in 2008 and four in 2016, according to the KDA.
The KDA has established an EIA page on the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/EIA, where any future positive cases resulting from this investigation will be posted. The public will be notified of updates to that webpage via the KDA Twitter account, @KansasDeptofAg.