By Emily Konkel
Most horse owners have heard the term Coggins or Coggins test numerous times in their horse career. How many of you can tell us exactly what a Coggins test is? Although we hear the term often, many people do not know exactly what a Coggins test is for.
Coggins tests are extremely important. In most states, they are required to transport a horse from one location to another. Any and every horse event in the state of Michigan is required to check for a negative Coggins before allowing horses off the trailer. As you can see, Coggins tests are nothing to be taken lightly.
A Coggins test should be taken every year. Most people get a Coggins pulled sometime after the 1st
to get a test every 6 months. Contrary to popular belief, a Coggins test is not a disease. It is the name of a test for a disease called equine infectious anemia, or EIA. EIA, commonly known as swamp fever, it is an infectious viral disease that is transmitted from horse to horse by mechanical vectors such as horseflies or deerflies. The virus survives up to four hours in the carrier. The disease can also be transmitted from surgical equipment, recycled needles and syringes and bits. Mares, if tested positive, can also transmit the disease to their foals through the placenta. Clinical signs of EIA include fever, weight loss, icterus (yellowing of body tissues), anemia, swelling in the limbs, and weakness.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for EIA in the United States. Horses that test positive for EIA must be branded and quarantined for life at least 200 yards away from other equine, or be put down if quarantine is not possible.
For more information on Coggins tests visit: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/