An estimated 240 horses were exposed.
A horse sold out of Weld County, Colorado tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA) on August 28, 2018 — but not before the horse crossed state lines into Wyoming, and not before about 100 other horses on the original premises exposed to the infected horse were sold to homes in 20 additional states.
EIA is a viral disease typically spread through the blood by biting insects, but also through inappropriate management of needles and other equipment. Horses may not present with symptoms, but the disease can cause fever, weakness, weight loss, an enlarged spleen, anemia, weak pulse and death. Infected horses must remain in isolation for life, and are typically euthanized. A Coggins test screens for EIA, which is why a Coggins is required for interstate travel as well as most competitions and sales.
However, the infected Weld County horse was able to cross state lines into Wyoming before his Coggins test was returned, which is a direct violation of law.
Additionally, the estimated 240 other horses on the index property in Weld County were exposed, with about a hundred of these already sold and shipped to 20 states. Colorado state officials are working to locate these horses but are also asking the public’s cooperation in coming forward if they purchased a horse from Weld County any time between July 18 and August 20, 2018. The index property has been quarantined and all horses will be retested in 60 days to determine if the disease had spread.
Several properties have already been located that purchased horses from the quarantined property — the name of which cannot be released, according to Colorado state law — and are now under a hold older, meaning that horses that have come in contact with an EIA-infected horse, but have not tested positive themselves, need to be held for 60 days until a re-test.
Further compounding the issue is the Colorado law that names of properties under hold order and quarantine cannot be released, meaning that it’s possible for neighboring horses on nearby properties within a 200-yard radius to become exposed before the 60-day re-test.
Horse owners who purchased a horse from Weld County, Colorado between July 18 and August 20, 2018 should reach out to the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130 or email [email protected].