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Re: Equine Infectious Anemia

I can't believe I'm even bothering to comment on this post, but old Don is
mistaken in numerous areas.  One, prevalence of EIA *has* dropped
significantly in the past twenty years, which it wouldn't if uncontrolled.
Two, there are several manifestations of the disease other than those he
mentions, including inflammation of brain tissue, blindness and
lymphodenopathy.  Does every horse get this, no, but that's not the point of
the program.  Three, the likelihood of infection between one horse and the
next is described in epidemiological texts as quite a bit different than the
six million to one he describes.  Is it as contagious as some other
diseases, no, but still contagious/infectitious (which are not the same
thing).  Yup, he's right, they don't know how many horses die of the
disease, but that's not the point here, epidemiological prevalence is.

What Don seems to be missing here is that THERE IS NO CURE AND NO VACCINE.
A horse may or may not die directly of the disease, but regardless, he stays
a carrier for the rest of his life and sure as God made little green apples,
given enough horses eventually carrying the virus, with enough exposure to
other horses over time, the prevalence of the disease *will* spread through
the equine population---simple mathematics and epidemiological facts here,
folks.  May not kill every horse outright and may take twenty or forty or a
hundred years for it to spread through the population, but gee, what do you
think the chances are of controlling it then?  No cure for it, remember?
And by the way, EIA is an acquired immunodeficiency virus and viruses
mutate---they do it all the time.  Can EIA cause disease in humans?  Not at
the moment, but wouldn't it just be a bitch if it spread through the horse
population and then we found out, oops, it's mutated into a virulent form
transmissable to humans?  Too sci-fi for you?  HIV is a mutated, previously
innocuous virus.  Maybe Don doesn't mind having "apparently" healthy,
seropositive horses around, but I'd appreciate it if he kept them the hell
away from *my* horses.  Until there's a cure or vaccine for the virus,
you're damn right I support it being monitored and controlled.

Yeah, horses get euthanized from testing seropositive.  The program has to
do with epidemiology, not individual horses.  Life's a bitch.

Anyone that honestly believes vets are out there testing horses at oh
yippee, $10 a pop as an evil conspiracy to get rich should be ashamed of

Susan G

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 4:14 PM
Subject: RC: Equine Infectious Anemia

> A Ridecamper recently emailed me and asked me what my problem (I have
> several, actually) was concerning the Coggin's test and why I am so
> it.  Instead of answering in my own words, I'd prefer to share with y'all
> article I read recently concerning this very subject.  The author's name
> Don Blazer and I "borrowed" it from "Horse & Pony", a Florida and Georgia
> publication.
> Equine Infectious Anemia
> by Don Blazer
> The chances your horse is going to die from Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)
> are slim to none.  The chances your horse is going to die from a Coggins
> are very good.  Why?  Money!  Do horses die from it?  Sometimes, but
> I asked dozens of veterinarians if they had ever seen a horse die of EIA.
> None had.  I've been a horse owner and trainer for more than 40 years, and
> I've never even seen a horse seriously ill from EIA.
> Ask the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) how many horses die from EIA
> the answer is "we don't have any idea."  Yet it is the Code of Federal
> Regulations, Diseases in Horses, which provides individual states the
> opportunity to adopt a quarantine or euthanize (slaughter) means to
> the disease.
> And most states are doing just that--quarantining and killing useful,
> apparently healthy horses which test positive for EIA.  Has there been
> eradication of the disease over the last 30 years?  Of course not!  Why?
> Money!
> Is there an EIA epidemic?  NO.  Is the disease easily transmitted?  NO.
> Is Equine Infectious Anemia infectious?  Not as horsemen normally think of
> when using the word infectious.  EIA must be transmitted by a
> insect or unsterile injection technique.
> What are the chances an infected horse is going to infect another horse?
> About one in six million if both horses are close together in the middle
of a
> swarm of flies who are constantly being interrupted while trying to feed
> the blood of the positive horse.  A fly which has not finished feeding on
> infected horse, has blood on it, then bites the uninfected horse may
> possibly, but not likely infect the healthy horse.
> What happens if the horse gets EIA?  He probably lives a long and useful
> sometimes becoming a little anemic, sometimes a little depressed,
> running a fever.  He may experience the symptoms numerous times during his
> lifetime, but he owner will most often not even notice.  In fact, USDA
> surveys find the problem so insignificant that more than 50% of horse
> didn't even know of EIA, although nearly all horse owners had heard of the
> Coggins test.
> If the horse develops an acute case of EIA he will, within a period as
> as 30 days, run a high temperature, experience depression, weakness and
> rapid pulse.  Other signs of the disease include discharges from the nose
> eyes, heavy perspiration and colic.  The horse will recover or die within
> five to six weeks.
> How many horses die and how many survive acute EIA?  Impossible to tell,
> most acute cases are euthanized, never given a chance to recover.
> Horses with subacute or chronic cases often suffer some weight loss and
> depression with fever.  They usually recover and appear normal until
> attack, frequently brought on by stress.  While these horses are usually
> anemic, most often they live useful lives, and do not die from EIA.
> once they test positive, they are most frequently slaughtered.
> regulations are usually impossible for the average horse owner.)
> Most Coggins positives are "in apparent carriers" which don't show any
> and don't seem to be infective to other horses.  In fact, it is not known
> under what conditions such a horse could become infective.  "In apparent
> carriers" never die from the disease, but always die from the euthanasia
> solution.
> So, if the disease isn't a major threat to the life of horses, isn't
> transmitted, and isn't keeping horses from living long and useful lives,
> are we killing them?
> Money.  Testing for EIA (primarily the Coggins test) is a 314 million
> business in the United States.  Veterinarians probably net about $10 per
> test, and testing laboratories net about $10 per test.  No individual is
> getting rich, but it is easy, it is fast, and it is income.
> Expect more testing.  Now every state requires a Coggins test if you are
> going to transport a horse into the state.  Do the states check on every
> horse which enters the state?  Of course not.
> Does more testing mean more money for the labs and vets?  Sure.  Does it
> government agencies will have to put on more staff and have bigger
> You bet!
> Do you think state agencies which admit off the record there is little
> to horses and the problem is insignificant will say so on the record?  Not
> your life.  (Arizona has put down about three positive horses per year for
> the last ten years.  There is no record of how many horses died of EIA,
> probably because none did.)
> Do you think veterinarians will call for an end to the unnecessary
> of horses?  Having asked the question, I hope a lot of horsemen, a lot of
> veterinarians and a lot of laboratories get mad.  But before the vets and
> labs yell, they better come up with some cold, hard figures.
> When the horsemen yell because they are tired of having government kill
> horses, maybe the noise will wake up the politicians who have allowed this
> disaster in the fist place.  Politicians write bad laws, then fail to
> them because they are too lazy, too self-serving, too ignorant of the
> and too unwilling to do their job.  Unfortunately for horses and horsemen,
> will take politicians (if you can get them to do the right thing) to put a
> stop to the bureaucrats-state veterinarians and agricultural
> are building their empires and retirement on a no-fact crisis.
> Isn't that the way so many make their money--cry crisis, grab the bucks?
> Horsemen, you'd better start riding today; one of these days your horse
> be marked for death--Coggins positive.
> cya,
> Howard (if we don't fight back they'll just keep taking more and more till
> have nothing left to give)
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