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Equine Infectious Anaemia

June 2014 by Dr Christine Myers, WestVETS Animal Hospital and Reproduction Centre

Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) is an incurable viral disease that is spread by biting insects. It is a rare disease in Australia, found most commonly in isolated pockets, particularly in Queensland.

EIA is a retrovirus, which is the same family of viruses as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Horses, once infected, are infected for life - there is no treatment or cure. The virus infects cells involved in the immune system, which can then result in widespread inflammation throughout the body, platelet destruction and anaemia. EIA is not contagious to humans.

How do horses become infected?