Chances are if you have traveled with your horse, or if you have plans to travel, you may have noticed that proof of a negative Coggin's test is required. What is a Coggin's test and why is it required at so many horse events and shows?
What is a Coggin's Test?
A Coggin's Test is a blood draw that is looking for antibodies of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) in the horse. This blood test is drawn by a veterinarian, and is sent off to an approved lab to be reviewed. A negative Coggin's Test ensures people that the horse in question does not have EIA and cannot spread the disease.
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is a viral disease that is transmitted primarily from one horse to another by biting flies. The disease will not last long in its host (the fly), and therefore infection will happen only to horses that are close in proximity. The majority of horses that become infected with EIA will eventually die from the disease, although some may survive but are infected for life.
Why do I need a Coggin's Test?
Proof of a negative test is means to protect healthy horses and to prevent the spread of EIA. Most horse shows, organized horse events, public riding areas and trails, and some barns will require proof of a current negative Coggin's Test. Negative Coggin's test is also often required for horses to cross state lines. Depending on the location/state, a current test may be within the calendar year (for example good through all of 2013) OR within a year of the date the test was drawn (for example: if the horse was tested on 10/02/13 the test would be good through 10/02/14), check with your state or event for specific requirements.
With the development of the Coggin's Test in the 1970's, there has been a very significant decline in the number of reported EIA incidents across North America. Because there is no vaccine and no cure, the best way to prevent EIA from infecting your horse is to ensure that the horses s/he may come in contact with are healthy and never reuse the same syringe on different horses. In addition, if you board your horse, only board at a facility that requires proof of the negative Coggin's test prior to arrival at the farm.