Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (CID) in Horses



Unfortunately, there are no effective methods for treating equine CID. The infections and illnesses that occur as the result of this condition can be treated, at least in the beginning, but if the horse's immune system is not building antibodies to fight further infections, your horse will continue to be sick until finally its body can no longer withstand the onslaught of infections.


If you do choose to have your horse treated, the medical choices will be mainly of a palliative nature, given to make your horse as comfortable as possible while it lives. Infections may be treated by antibiotic, and other illnesses will be treated accordingly, and if possible, analgesics may be given to relieve symptoms of pain. However, as the disease progresses, secondary conditions usually will not respond to treatment as the immune system will rapidly go downhill.


Living and Management


Horses that suffer from combined immunodeficiency disease do not often live to adulthood. Those that do live any length of time will have difficult, sickly lives until they die.



There is no vaccine available for CID, and no way to treat or prevent it. For this reason, if you have an Arabian horse or an Arab crossbreeds, it is recommended that you look into having your horse tested for the genetic strain that is associated with equine CID to either confirm or rule out that your horse is a carrier of the CID gene.


Those horses that are shown to be carrying the gene should be sterilized to prevent them from reproducing and passing the gene along, as it can be inherited from horses that carry it as a recessive gene, but which never themselves show symptoms of a disorder. This is the only way to control CID.