Equine Infectious Anemia: Why do we test and why should you care?

By Garrett Metcalf, DVM

What is a Coggins test, and why is it so important? Why do I need a Coggins test if I am moving my horse(s) out of state or to an event? Why is the test only good for one year? This article will discuss the history of Equine Infectious Anemia and why it is a very important disease to keep under control. It also will discuss the route of transmission from one horse to another and the symptoms that a horse will have if it gets the disease.

Equine Infectious Anemia has been known by many names: Swamp Fever, Slow Fever, Mountain Fever, Equine Malarial Fever, and Coggins Disease, or EIA. It is a lentivirus from the family Retroviridae, and can infect all members of the Equidae family from ponies, donkeys, mules, and horses. EIA has been recognized as a disease for centuries, but it made its big emergence in the 1930s and reached its height of devastation between the 1960s and 1970s.

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