Horse Owners Test Animals for Contagious Disease After Outbreak

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JACKSON, Tenn. — After a recent case of a deadly horse disease in McNairy County, two farms have been quarantined. R&J Feed and Supply in Jackson held a Coggins clinic Saturday to test for the disease. “We just need to be vigilant about what we do in taking care of our animals,” Richard Steed said, a McNairy County horse owner. Horse owners took advantage of testing their animals for Equine Infectious Anemia, a contagious horse virus. “We draw blood, we send the serum from the blood off to an independent lab,” Brenda Looney, a My Animal Clinic Veterinarian said. “They then go through the testing and to see if they are positive or negative at that point.” Coincidentally, R&J scheduled the clinic before the outbreak, which comes as good news after medical experts reported West Tennessee is at the highest risk for Coggins in the state. Horse owners were given two options for test methods. “There’s an ELISA and an AGID test, the ELISA test is a rapid test within 24 hours they can have results back, and the AGID does take several days to do,” Looney said. Steed, a Bethel Springs resident and veterinarian in Jackson says knowing the outbreak happened in McNairy County is alarming, and he’s not taking any chances. “We try to be very proactive in the summer, keeping them sprayed for flies,” Steed said. Steed added that besides testing his horses on a regular basis, he’ll keep a close watch on his animals. He says Coggins is something that rarely happened in the area, until now. “16 or 18 years ago before testing was done regularly there was some cases in the south part of the county,” Steed said. “But none this close to home.” R&J employees say they have two tests every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Once a horse tests positive for Coggins, they have to be quarantined or euthanized.

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