What is a Coggins test?
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) also known as “Swamp Fever,” is an equine viral disease that is closely related to the HIV virus that causes AIDS in people. Horses become infected when a blood-sucking insect (mosquitoes, ticks, horseflies) bites an infected horse, then moves on to bite and infect another horse. Horses with EIA may die suddenly, become chronically ill, or develop a carrier state where they appear healthy but carry the virus. There is no cure for EIA, and the only way the disease can be controlled is by identifying carriers.
The presence of EIA is determined with a blood test developed by veterinary researcher Dr. Leroy Coggins. A negative Coggins means there has been no exposure to the virus, and a positive indicates that the horse is infected.
Stringent testing laws have nearly eliminated EIA from the United States. A negative Coggins Test is now required for horses travelling across any state lines. For the majority of states, a yearly negative test is adequate for entry. Some states require a negative test within the last six months.
Our office staff can certainly assist you with the requirements necessary when traveling to another state or to Canada. Give yourself 7-10 days (minimum) to make sure all regulatory requirements are met and in order before you travel. Happy Trails!
What advice do you have for traveling with my horse?
- Start with a healthy horse! Horses with subclinical or clinical respiratory disease should avoid transport except in emergency situations. We recommend consulting a veterinarian with these cases prior to shipping.
- During long-term transport (greater than 6 to 8 hours), do not elevate or restrict the movement of the head and neck by cross-tying. A small box stall that allows the horse to drop its head is preferred for minimizing stress and susceptibility to disease after transport.
- Dietary adjustments are not necessary in horses shipped short distances. Horses intended to endure long transportation schedules should be provided with feed and water on a regular schedule. Laxatives such as bran mashes may not be necessary. Some nervous horses may develop loose manure or diarrhea and subsequently become dehydrated from the loss of fluids.
- If you provide hay to your horse during transport, make sure it is quality hay with minimal dust and mold.
- Water should be offered every 6 to 8 hours if possible. However, many horses may not drink during transit.
- Relative humidity and environmental temperature rise quickly in stationary closed vehicles. Horses should be unloaded upon arrival or during stops to minimize thermal stress, especially under summer conditions.
- Respiratory ailments such as shipping fever and pneumonia may not show symptoms for 2 to 3 days following transport. However, depression in the attitude of the horse, lack of appetite, and the development of coughing or nasal discharge may be signs of shipping fever. Death within 30 days following transport due to pneumonia has been reported in horses transported over durations of 8 to 43 hours. Daily recording of rectal temperature in horses transported long distances is advisable. A veterinarian should be consulted for horses exhibiting any of these signs
- For a wide variety of travelling and trailering tips and articles from a reputable source, visit www.myhorse.com, a website maintained by the American Association of Equine Practitioners.