Ohio horse tests positive for deadly disease at Pa. sale

SALEM, Ohio – Test results have confirmed an Ohio horse sold at a Pennsylvania auction late last month has a deadly disease.
The animal’s positive result for equine infectious anemia came a week after the horse crossed state lines and was sold at the Meadville Livestock Auction June 29.
A positive result. The animal was first purchased at the livestock sale in Sugarcreek, Ohio, June 26. The buyer then took the horse to the Pennsylvania auction, according to Ohio Department of Agriculture spokesperson LeeAnne Mizer.
States require that horses first pass the equine infectious anemia test before they can move across state lines. In this case, however, the new owner took the animal to the Pennsylvania sale while those results were still pending, Mizer said.
The matter is still under investigation, Mizer said. For this reason, she said the subject’s name is not being released.
A week after the sale, the Ohio Department of Agriculture notified the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture that a positive horse was believed to have been sold at the Meadville sale.
The department located the horse in Lawrence County, Pa., and a second test July 13 confirmed the animal has the disease, according to Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture veterinarian Bruce Schmucker.
Schmucker said the horse is quarantined. There are no other horses at the farm or in the adjacent areas, he said.
‘Frightening.’ Twenty-eight horses were sold at the Meadville auction, Schmucker said, and the agriculture department is working on locating them.
Those horses will not be quarantined, but he said the owners will be advised to isolate the animals and have them tested for the disease in early August.
Schmucker and Mizer agree the disease is devastating.
“There’s not a vaccine for this so that makes it all the more frightening,” Mizer said.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture recommends other horses at the Sugarcreek sale also be tested.
Rare. Mizer said it’s rare for the equine infectious anemia tests to come back positive in Ohio.
Schmucker agreed and said in the last few years, just one Pennsylvania donkey tested positive for the equine disease.
The disease is spread by blood-to-blood contact, Schmucker said.
Usually this is by biting insects that pick up the infected horse’s blood and then bite another animal, Schmucker said.
It is only transferable to other horses, ponies, mules and donkeys, he said.
Life expectancy. Equine infectious anemia can either kill a horse within a few weeks or cause a debilitating sickness.
Other horses aren’t affected by the disease but still carry it, Schmucker said.
The infected animal does not necessarily have to be euthanized, he said, but USDA’s restrictions on quarantining the animal for the rest of its life are exceptionally strict.
(Reporter Kristy Hebert welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 23 or by e-mail at khebert@farmanddairy.com.)


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