Equine infectious anaemia


Equine infectious anaemia (EIA) is a bloodborne disease caused by a horse specific lentivirus in the retrovirus family. It is transmitted by insects (horseflies, deer flies and stable flies).

EIA can manifest as an asymptomatic infection or as an acute or chronic disease. Acute signs may range from transient inappetance and mild thrombocytopaenia that may go undetected, to marked fever, weakness, severe anaemia, jaundice, tachypnoea and petechial haemorrhages of mucosae. Noticeable chronic signs include recurring bouts of fever accompanied with anaemia, marked thrombocytopaenia, depression, weight loss and dependent oedema.

There is no treatment or vaccine available for EIA. Iatrogenic infection is prevented via good hygiene and disinfection practices involving needles, syringes and equipment.

EIA was first noted in Australia in 1959 and is endemic along the inland rivers of central and western Queensland. The disease is rare in other parts of Australia and has never been reported in Tasmania or South Australia.

Diagnosis and tests available


Diagnosis is supported by clinical signs. haematology, serology and histopathology. A positive AGID is conclusive evidence of EIA, however the AGID may occasionally be negative early in the disease course.

Tests available


Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Equine infectious anaemia virus antibody AGID

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Tuesday & Friday

2-3 days from test set up2

Histopathology examination

Fixed tissue

Monday – Friday

Up to 5 days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.
2 Confirmatory testing may affect turnaround time.

Specimen requirements

Blood (without anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood (including at least 2ml of serum) collected into a plain red top tube
    • Submit chilled

Fixed tissue

  • Liver, kidney, spleen and lymph nodes
    • Submit fixed in neutral buffered formalin at a10:1 ratio of formalin: tissue