May 1, 2002 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Kentucky proudly refers to itself as the “horse capital of the world.” With that description, it’s safe to say a significant part of the Commonwealth population participates in some type of horse activity. An important part of horse management is making sure the animals have a negative Coggins test to show they do not have Equine Infectious Anemia.

“State regulations require a negative test for taking horses to different activities and those regulations are in place to protect your horses,” said Bob Coleman, University of Kentucky Extension horse specialist. “EIA is a viral disease that’s often fatal and there is no cure or vaccine to protect your horses.”

Coleman said the best thing to do is prevent the horses from becoming infected. One way to do that is to make sure the other horses at an activity do not have the disease. Horses testing positive are excluded from the activity.

Regulations specific to Kentucky may be different from other states. In the Commonwealth all horses participating in any activities such as horse shows, races and trail rides need to have a negative EIA test within the last 12 months. Also, all horses moving due to a change in ownership need a negative EIA test within the last six months.

“If you’re planning to go out of the state, contact your veterinarian or the state veterinarian to find out what regulations are for the state you’re traveling to,” Coleman said. “Anywhere you plan to stop in any state, even just to take a short break, you need to be up-to-date with their regulations.”

Coleman said it’s important to carry papers proving your horse’s negative Coggins test with you at all times when traveling. All horses must be tested with an official test approved by the USDA. Local veterinarians can help horse owners get their horses tested.

The only horses not requiring a negative Coggins test are unweaned foals, less than 6 months old, accompanied by their dams.

“Even if your test isn’t due for a few months, it’s a good time to start thinking about renewing it now,” Coleman added. “It can sneak up on you. You don’t want to be pulled over while traveling and not have current papers. Also, you don’t want to be kept from participating in an event because your test expired last week or the day before.”


Bob Coleman 859-257-9451