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Rare, Fatal Horse Disease Found In Taylor County

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A horse and a mule on the same premises in Taylor County have tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA).

These are Wisconsin’s first confirmed cases of EIA in almost 15 years. There is no treatment for EIA. State officials say to prevent transmitting it, infected animals need to be humanely euthanized.

Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection spokesperson Leeann Duwe says the viral infection only affects animals like horses, mules, zebras and donkeys...

"...include fever, uncontrollable bleeding which gets worse as it spreads through the animal..."

Insects and bad sanitation spread the disease....

"..Horses can get this through flies that feed on blood. A bite from a horsefly or a deer fly. That is how viruses are transmitted between horses. It can also come from reusing dirty needles, syringes, blood transfusions or any type of contaminated equipment...."

Symptoms can vary and may include fever and uncontrollable bleeding that can progress to weakness, weight loss, depression, and death.

To reduce the risk of infection, horse owners should implement fly control measures during fly season, sterilize all needles and syringes used for injections, clean and disinfect equipment shared between animals. There is no evidence that EIA is a public health concern.

Officials say EIA should not be confused with the more common Eastern equine encephalitis, or Triple "E" which is a mosquito-borne virus.

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