Testing for EIA virus
Re: EIA found in Saskatchewan horse, (WP, Aug 2).
There is no such thing as an EIA (equine infectious anemia) test that shows the presence of the EIA virus. The EIA- AGID (Agar-Gel Immunodiffusion) test only shows the presence of antibodies, not the virus.
Stating that a horse has the virus because it has the antibodies is presumptive diagnosis. Showing positive titres is not definitive of infection. Antibodies fight against disease and have the ability to destroy or render virus innocuous and provide immunity.
A horse with EIA antibodies may be host adaptive and never get or transmit EIA. There are other viral diseases with higher natural transmission and mortality than EIA. Why all the fuss over EIA? EIA has a very low natural transmission or mortality in nature.
Normally, veterinarians only use euthanasia when an animal is severely injured or very ill with clinical signs and are unlikely to survive or are a threat to human health. EIA is species specific.
EIA horses are safe for human consumption. Why are horses ordered killed because they “might” get sick? Where did all the fear of EIA come from?
EIA should be treated like any other contagious disease. When sick, the horse should be isolated with contamination/transmission protocols in place until it recovers or another remedy is necessary.
Stoney Plain, Alta.