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Rare equine disease discovered in horse at Weld County farm

Hundreds of horses are quarantined after the Colorado Department of Agriculture says one horse tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia.
Credit: Rodriguez, Jacob

Hundreds of horses around the country may have been exposed to an infectious disease by one horse in Weld County.

The horse had the disease Equine Infectious Anemia, which spreads through horse flies and deer flies and has no cure. Once a horse is infected, it must be quarantined for life or euthanized. Humans cannot contract the disease.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture said the horse, which has since been put down, crossed into Wyoming on Aug. 20, and back into Colorado on Aug. 25.

The department also said it can't legally release the name of the farm the horse was from.

"I understand that people want to know, but I think the main thing to be aware of is if you purchased a horse in Weld County between July 18 and Aug. 24, you can contact our office and find out if it's an animal of interest,” Roehr said.

The horse did not have a health certificate when it crossed into Wyoming, a violation of that state's laws.

The CDA said 240 other horses may have come in contact with the infected horses, but 100 of them were already sent to other states by the time they received the positive result.

Now the state is trying to track down, quarantine, and test all those other horses. So far, just the one horse has tested positive for the disease.

Kris Espinosa, the owner of Hobby Horse Farms in Firestone, said she is taking extra precautions to try to keep her horses healthy.

"I'm toying with the idea whether new horses coming in need to be quarantined in that barn," she said.

Espinosa said she plans to be more diligent with bug spray and covering the horse's eyes and skin.

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