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Don’t Piss Off Your Vet: Coggins Edition

Don’t be the barn that needs an emergency Coggins & health cert for horses that are leaving the next day.

Congrats! WEF is almost over! But before you pop open that beverage, please check to make sure that all of your horses’ Coggins are up to date and that you ask for your health certificate in a timely fashion.


Vets and techs everywhere

WEF week 12 is here and for those of you with horses that will be shipping out of Florida soon, you’ll need an Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection to cross state lines. In fact, any time you want to cross state lines with livestock, you’ll need one of these health certificates. To write a health certificate, your veterinarian will need an up-to-date copy of the horse’s Coggins – a blood test to see if the horse is a carrier for Equine Infectious Anemia, or EIA. There is no known cure or treatment for EIA, which is why it’s so important that horses get tested annually. Why do we call it a Coggins? It’s named after the veterinarian Dr. Leroy Coggins who created the test.

How to tell if your Coggins is out of date?

Once you’ve located your horse’s Coggins, check the date the blood was pulled. If it’s a hand-drawn form, it’ll be in the upper right-hand corner, but if it’s a Global Vet Link (GVL) Coggins, it should be in box 2. If this date is over a year old when the horse will travel, it will not pass inspection at the state line.

*NOTE: Some states require a negative Coggins within six months of transportation. Be sure to ask your veterinarian if you are unsure.

If my Coggins is out of date what will my veterinarian need?

Your veterinarian will need only one tube of blood pulled from your horse, as well as the address of the location the blood was pulled, the owner of the animal, and a description of the horse. Many veterinarians are now using an online submission form for Coggins tests, which requires photos taken of the horse. Your veterinarian will take these photos at the time of the blood draw so please make sure that your horse is groomed. They will be used to identify them at the state line. 

Click here to learn more about online submission forms for Coggins tests.

I already had my horse’s Coggins updated. Now what?

If the same vet who pulled the Coggins is also the same vet you want to write the health certificate, all you need to do is send them a text message containing the following:

  • which horses are leaving
  • when they are leaving
  • where they are leaving from
  • where they are traveling to
  • what transportation company is taking them

Sometime before the horses leave – and before the certificate is written – your vet will be out to look at each of the horses traveling and take a temperature. No horse should ever travel if it is sick!

A health certificate is good for 30 days, so even if plans change last minute and the horses are staying for an extra week, you’re still good to use the same Certificate. 

The Week Before You Travel

Please double-check your paperwork at least a week in advance of departure! Help out your vet by letting them know ahead of time that your horses are leaving soon. Don’t be that barn, the one that needs an emergency Coggins and a health certificate for horses that are leaving very early the next day. It’s a sure-fire way to piss off your vet. 

The Day of Travel

Be sure that you have a physical copy of each horses’ Coggins, as well as the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection on the truck traveling with the horses. You will need to show these papers at the state line in order to cross.

March 25, 2023

Laura Elser 🇺🇸

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