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Coggins - why not required in California?

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  • Coggins - why not required in California?

    This came up in the thread on the horses missing (and now found) in California. Trying not to derail that one, so am asking here.

    California is described as a pretty regulated state. Yet, you aren't required to get a Coggins test unless, AFAIK, the horse crosses state lines. The only horses I've seen tested are ones that are going to leave the state.

    Anyone know why?

    The vector is described in this article in The Horse as biting insects, with the deer fly and horse fly specially noted, and humans. I think we have those. I searched and found this thread that mentioned the lack of testing in CA, but didn't address why.
    The Evil Chem Prof

  • #2
    Guess I have always been under the impression that Coggins were only required to cross state lines. It is not required in Vermont unless you are going out of state.

    So, are you saying that in some states it IS required, regardless of whether the horse is going anywhere or not? I had not heard of that.


    • #3
      True statement, most states do not require a Coggins unless the horse is crossing state lines (import/export from the state's perspective.) The show ground rules about a Coggins for showing are just that: individual show rules.

      To see all the details for the states, check the USDA - APHIS site:


      At the bottom of the page are links to all the state rules.

      I have an old pony who lives with me who has not had a Coggins drawn in more than 10 years. He never leaves the property and the two mares who do travel are tested every year. I would test him only if one of the mares or a neighbor's horse had a positive test and there was a need for quarantine / containment of the disease.

      Last edited by ShotenStar; Feb. 22, 2010, 09:43 AM.
      "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
      - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


      • #4
        In TX it is illegal to sell a horse without a current Coggins before it changes hands.
        One is required in all horse sales in TX, NM and OK and the sale barns look at them before accepting any horse.

        Most horse activities, like horse shows and rodeos also require one around here, even in local fairs for 4H kids.

        I know that they require them if you are traveling in most of the SW and if they pull you over and don't have one, you may be in trouble.


        • #5
          Required in NC at all times. They can come to your barn and ask to see your coggins on every horse. required to sell a horse, take a horse to a show, trail ride etc. Not enforced all the time, but more and more it is enforced.


          • #6
            As far as I can tell, there must be a negative coggins from within the last 36 months "on all horses raced, exhibited or stabled on race tracks or fairgrounds where other horses are being raced, exhibited or stabled."
            If it's coming in from out of state, the coggins needs to be within the last 6 months, and have a heath certificate from within the last 30 days.

            36 months is WAAAYYYY to long in my opinion, and in my experience most horse shows in Maine require much more recent ones.

            I realize that a horse can be infected when the test is pulled and not have it show up, and I realize that they can be infected after.

            I was at a barn in NH where a mare tested positive for EIA, and she had arrived at the facility the year before with a negative test. I was glad they had chosen to do the tests in March that year, as there were no insects yet, and she was the only positive test on the farm - she was euthanized (heartbreak to her young owner who had lost a horse the summer before to another condition... "but mommy she doesn't LOOK sick!" ), the other horses went through the 40 day quarantine, and no one else tested positive. It was a wake up call, for sure!


            • #7
              Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
              Required in NC at all times. They can come to your barn and ask to see your coggins on every horse. required to sell a horse, take a horse to a show, trail ride etc. Not enforced all the time, but more and more it is enforced.
              Please post the excerpt from the NC regulation that requires a coggins for horses not in interstate transport, sold or exhibited.

              Of course they can come to your barn if they suspect that you have been trading, importing or transporting untested equines, but unless you have done so you will not be fined for not testing according to the information posted by the NCAD.

              To assist you in your search, I post the following quote from the North Carolina Agriculture Department.

              The link is here:


              Health certificate is required within 30 days of shipment with horses individually listed.

              A. Horses, ponies, mules, asses zebras, and all other equine species may be imported into the state when accompanied by an official health certificate giving accurate description of them and certifying that as determined by a physical examination they are free fro any evidence of an infectious or transmissible disease and have not been exposed recently to any infectious or transmissible disease, and attesting that any animal over six (6) months of age has passed a negative official test for equine infectious anemia within 12 months prior to entry.

              B. Exhibition
              Negative official equine infectious anemia test certification within the past 12 months. No health certificate is required.

              C. Market/Auction Sales
              All equine over six (6) months of age moved for the purpose of change of ownership must be accompanied by an official certificate verifying a negative test for EIA conducted within twelve (12) months prior to sale or movement. Equine may have tests conducted at certain established pre-approved markets at seller's expense for reasons of sale and transfer provided they move with an owner-shipper statement and provided that the equine are restricted until the test has been conducted and held in isolation until negative test results have been received.


              • #8
                Not required in WA, unless leaving the state/country (BC, for example) usually as part of a health certificate needed for travel--except we can travel to OR without one. Lots of us go back and forth to OR weekly for shows/lessons.

                We are "supposed" to have health certificates for interstate travel, but in 18 years of showing across the border in OR, I've been checked one time at a show.
                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                • #9
                  Nope, absolutely not required just as a matter of course in NC. Required for certain activities, like crossing state lines, sure. Required by certain activities, like shows (not even all shows), yep.
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • #10
                    Who cares whether a state REQUIRES a Coggins or not...isn't it just good practice to have one pulled every year for every horse you own, whether or not that horse ever goes any where?

                    I don't HAVE to have a Coggins to trail ride my horses any where in the state...but I get a Coggins pulled every spring. It's kind of dumb and irresponsible not to, in my opinion.


                    • #11
                      There are a lot of states that consider EIA basically "obsolete" and you only need coggins when transporting or selling horses. You ask most vets 1) How many coggins have you pulled and most will answer "thousands". 2) then ask how many positives have you had... most would say "none".

                      The disease does crop up occassionally. It would be interesting to know if any areas of the country are having any cases pop up.

                      For those posters ready to flame me the above is just what theories I have heard. We do get coggins on our horses yearly as a matter of course.


                      • #12
                        If you want to see the current numbers on EIA positives, check APHIS again -- they have some maps at


                        that give numbers for past years, with 2008 being the most current (113 cases total in the US).

                        "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
                        - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


                        • #13
                          One of the reasons EIA has become comparatively "rare" ( and that's somewhat geographically dependent) is because of Coggins tests...
                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                          • #14
                            EIA, the disease the Coggins tests for, is no longer a
                            common disease of horses. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/e...ution_maps.htm
                            This map shows distribution in 2008; California had
                            one case. Most cases were in Texas, Oklahoma and
                            Arkansas that year. Perhaps the California vets simply
                            don't see EIA as a problem.

                            Here in Wisconsin (where no cases were detected in
                            2008) we have to test annually if we want to take a
                            horse to any "gathering" (organized trail ride, competition,
                            parade...) and the organizer is required to keep copies
                            of each horse's test on file for 3 years. Also have to
                            furnish a current EIA test when selling a horse here.
                            Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                            Elmwood, Wisconsin


                            • #15
                              Star, Interesting there is actually a place to check. Thanks for the info!


                              • #16
                                I wonder if this isn't a bit of a catch 22 in some places. As CA doesn't require them unless a horse is going out of state then they test a lot less horses than other places which means there could be lots of horses there that never get tested and are positive. People say it isn't a problem because there are few positives but maybe there aren't that many tested?


                                • #17
                                  If you read the available materials on EIA testing statistics, they indicate that less than 1% of the 1 million tests done each year are positive. Yes, there are something on the order of 10 million horses in the US, so obviously not every horse is being tested. But that 1% positive rate allows you to calculate the total infection rate for the entire population and to track incidents of infection where increased testing would be required to control the spread.

                                  This type of monitoring / testing system is quite common and quite effective. That is why EIA has stopped being such a huge issue in the US. And remember, lots of horses that never cross state lines are still tested because they go to shows or other public venues that require a negative EIA for admittance. Only those horses living in a closed / no-movement situation are likely to never be tested, and they present only a slight infection risk to the general population.

                                  "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
                                  - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


                                  • #18
                                    We're required to have a current (every 12 months) negative coggins in FL. Here you have to be able to produce the paperwork pretty much all of the time. It covers both moving a horse within the state and across state lines, any time horses are in groups (both public and private, so including boarding situations), when a horse changes ownership, and all breeding animals.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by JB View Post
                                      Nope, absolutely not required just as a matter of course in NC. Required for certain activities, like crossing state lines, sure. Required by certain activities, like shows (not even all shows), yep.
                                      NC Regulations re EIA testing require a negative coggins when ownership is transferred or when the horse is in a public place (which seems to me to include a public boarding stable). It even requires a negative coggins prior to offering horses for sale.

                                      02 NCAC 52B .0406 EIA TEST REQUIRED
                                      (a) All equine more than six months of age entering North Carolina for any purpose other than for immediate slaughter shall be accompanied by a copy of the certificate of test from a laboratory approved by the USDA showing the animal to be negative to an official test for equine infectious anemia (EIA) within the past 12 months, except as provided in 02 NCAC 52B .0410. (See 02 NCAC 52B .0206 for other importation requirements.)
                                      (b) No equine more than six months of age shall be sold, offered for sale, traded, given away, or moved for the purpose of change of ownership unless accompanied by the original official negative test for EIA administered within 12 months prior to sale or movement, except that equine which are offered for sale at auction markets or sales may have a blood sample drawn at the market by the market's veterinarian at the seller's expense. In such cases, the equine may be sold and transferred contingent upon receipt of an official negative EIA test. Until receipt of an official negative EIA test, the equine must be isolated in accordance with standards for isolation of positive reactors, pursuant to 02 NCAC 52B .0408(c)(2).
                                      (c) All equine brought to or kept at any public place for exhibition, recreation or assembly shall be accompanied by either the original or a copy of an official negative test for EIA administered within the previous 12 months. The person in charge of any public place where equine are brought or kept for exhibition, recreation or assembly shall not permit an equine to remain on the premises without the test required by this Rule.
                                      (d) A person in possession or control of an equine in a public place shall, upon the request of an authorized person, present the original or a copy of the test required by this Rule and shall assist in identifying the equine. A person in possession or control of an equine who does not have an original or a copy of the test required by this Rule shall remove the equine from the premises within two hours of receiving written notification to leave from an authorized person. As used in this Rule, "authorized person" means the person in charge of the premises, or the State Veterinarian or his representative.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                        One of the reasons EIA has become comparatively "rare" ( and that's somewhat geographically dependent) is because of Coggins tests...

                                        Sad as it is that testing and euthanizing positive horses has killed more horses in the past years than the disease itself, we don't have the disease killing many more horses because, duh, we are testing and euthanizing those few that are positive, or putting them in quarantine, before they may infect many more horses.