Thursday, June 15, 2006

EIA in Ireland: Not Good News

Another horse disease is in the news today: Equine Infectious Anemia has hit Ireland for the first time, ever. That's the problem with being an island; your flies don't get exposed to diseases. The horses in Ireland have never needed Coggins tests, so what will they do now? According to news reports, the outbreak is blamed not on imported flies, as you might expect, but to a tainted supply of medication or vaccine.

No matter how it got to Ireland, it's there, and when flies bite an infected horses, the fly becomes a carrier and infects other horses. And horses that recover can be carriers forever.

It's not unusual for Irish horses to pop over to England or Scotland or even France to race, and we all know that every horse in Ireland is for sale. It is a market country and a nursery for the Thoroughbred and jumping horses of all types. This outbreak will require a major national education campaign.

I can hear them down at the pub now, asking "Who's this fellow Coggins, then, and why do our horses need to take his test?"(Good questions, who is/was Coggins?)

Keep an eye on this story. It reminds me of when West Nile Virus arrived in New York. Let's hope Ireland finds a way to stop a major outbreak, and a major change in how they manage and move their fabulous horses.