April 19, 2001 | By: Aimee D. Heald

From 4-H shows to Keeneland racing, spring ushers in a wide variety of horse activities in the Commonwealth. It's also a good time to think about updating your horse's Coggins test.

"A Coggins test is done to determine if your horse has Equine Infectious Anemia, more commonly called Swamp Fever," said Bob Coleman, horse specialist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "EIA is a serious condition and horses in Kentucky, or horses entering Kentucky must be tested every year."

All horses must be tested using an official test approved by the United States Department of Agriculture. Local veterinarians can help horse owners get their horses tested.

For horses traveling in the state, the owner or person transporting the horse needs to have on hand a certificate showing a negative Coggins test within the previous 12 months. If you are traveling outside the Commonwealth, it also is a good idea to contact the appropriate officials in the state where you are traveling to find out what their state regulations are regarding Coggins tests.

Coleman said horses attending a sale or changing ownership need to have proof of a negative test within the previous six months. If a horse is at an approved sale and does not have a valid Coggins test, blood will be drawn by an approved veterinarian at the sale.

The only horses not requiring a negative Coggins test are weaned foals that are accompanied by their dam.

"Even if your test isn't due for three or four months, start thinking about renewing it now," Coleman said. "It can sneak up on you, and you don't want to be barred from participating in an event because your test expired the week or the day before."


Bob Coleman 859-257-9451