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Coggins testing and Health Certificates
What is a Coggin’s test and why do I need one?
EIA is a viral disease spread by flies and grooming equipment and tack. Initially, the disease can cause fever, anemia, edema and small hemorrhages and death. It can also have a chronic form with weight loss, edema and depression. pass the virus (via flies, etc…) to other horses who may get very sick or die. The Coggin’s test is used to determine if a horse is a carrier of the virus despite looking normal.
Most states require that a horse be tested for EIA before entry for events, trail rides or to stay. Most states require a test within a year of transport, but some require the test within six months. The results are noted on the health certificate that is written by a veterinarian. Some private shows, boarding stables, and horse hotels require a negative Coggin’s test. So before transporting a horse to another state or even to a show it is important to find out the requirements. It is also wise to have Coggin’s test run when purchasing a new horse. Let the veterinarian know at the time of the pre-purchase examination.
A health certificate is a document signed by a veterinarian that he or she has examined the animal or animals and that they are not exhibiting any signs of disease. Signs of disease might be an abnormal temperature, runny eyes or a runny nose. Diseases like vesicular stomatitis have specific lesions that can be identified. Horses with abscesses may have pigeon fever. States or riding stables or show grounds obviously do not want disease on their turf. Most states require a negative Coggin’s test and some states have additional requirements. People shipping horses to other states should be responsible to find out exactly what is required well before the shipping day.
Having a Coggin’s test result form does not constitute a health certificate. These are 2 separate things. The results of the Coggin’s test is usually required on the health certificate. The Coggins test should be done before or at the visit for the health certificate examination. The results of the standard Coggins test take about 2-4 days and so planning ahead is essential. Rapid testing can be done, but at added expense.
Brand inspections are not the realm of veterinary medicine, but the are needed to transfer ownership of horses and to cross state lines and to travel over certain distances within a state. So, they often go hand in hand with getting a horse ready for sale or transport. The phone number for the brand inspectors in your area can be found in the phone book (often they may be found associated with auction barns).