Veterinarians advise testing horses after viral disease found in Marshall County

Four area horses have tested positive for a viral disease.

We first told you about the equine infectious anemia cases in Marshall County on Tuesday night. Horses at the therapeutic riding academy Cassidy’s Cause in Paducah are happy and healthy.

"All of these horses are just like our kids. They all have personalities, and we all love each of them," said co-owner Angie Falconite.

Falconite says this is why it was concerning to hear that equine infectious anemia, a viral disease, was found in horses close by in Marshall County.

"Something like that can really devastate our heard," Falconite said.

Dr. Tony Hicks, owner of equine vet service in Paducah, says the disease is spread through horse flies and vaccinating horses with the same needle. Hicks says it usually doesn’t spread far.

"I was not surprised to hear it was all located in one area, or in one farm," Hicks said.

Doctors say the best thing to do is to test your horses’ blood with test kits that can be found at certified veterinary offices. If you’re interested in a test, head to your local veterinary office.

"If they haven’t had one in the last six months to a year, I’d recommend them getting one," Hicks said.

Hicks says if a horse does test positive, it has to either be humanely put down or quarantined. 

"The horses have to be quarantined, because they are contagious from that point on to other animals," Hicks said.

He says the disease is rare —something he’s only seen a handful of times in almost 25 years of business.

"It’s not a routine thing. It was fairly surprising," Hicks says. 

That is something horse owners couldn’t be more thankful for.

I spoke to the doctor who tested the four horses in Marshall County for the disease. She’s traveling and couldn’t speak on camera on Wednesday, but she did say the horses were all on one farm.
She also told me they were humanely destroyed and buried. All horses that came into contact with the infected ones were tested and quarantined until results came back negative. They’re being closely monitored and will be tested again in six months. These were the first Kentucky horses to test positive for the disease since 2007.

For information on symptoms, head to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

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