Coggins, the bane of horse owners' existence
It's the same deal every year. You're getting ready to leave for an event, then you realize your Coggins test is out of date. Or you've lost it. Or maybe you never got it in the first place.
This test is seemingly pointless, as horses NEVER come back positive, right?
So, it begs the question: Why is Coggins testing in horses so important?
With a positive test in North Carolina this week (click here for info), it brings to the forefront the importance of Coggins testing. This test is required annually in the US for any horses that are travelling, showing, or boarding. It may seem like a waste of money, but the federal screening requirements in the US are so effective that you only rarely hear of cases of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). This is not the case in other countries, where Coggins testing is not required - even in Canada, EIA cases are far more common.
Why does this matter? Because EIA is fatal and untreatable. Horses who get the disease will either die, or they will be carriers. Carriers who are not euthanized must be kept in strict isolation for the remainder of their lives. Not a good deal for anyone involved.
So...Coggins testing may be a pain, but it has produced excellent control of a terrible disease in our country. Keep up with your annual testing!