A Coggins test is a key element of your horse's annual wellness plan.

What is a Coggins test?

'Coggins' is the diagnostic blood test for an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) used to screen horses, donkeys, and mules for the potentially fatal disease Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA).

What is Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)?

EIA is a potentially deadly virus that affects the immune system of animals in the Equidae family. 

While some animals can carry the virus without showing symptoms (asymptomatic) other horses suffer from severe symptoms of the disease including irregular heartbeat, weakness, swollen abdomen and/or legs, high fever, anemia, abortion in pregnant mares, or even sudden death.

A herd outbreak of EIA can lead to catastrophic consequences which are why horse owners need to be diligent about testing for the disease.

How Can My Horse Get EIA?

Despite the name including “infectious” EIA is not transferred from horse to horse, EIA is transferred from one horse to another through the bite of mosquitos, deer flies, horse flies, or stable flies that have previously fed on an infected animal. This means that your horse does not have to come in contact with an infected horse to contract the disease.

Because flies are attracted to barns and other places that horses frequent, this extremely serious disease can be quickly and easily transmitted from one horse to another.

What Happens If A Horse Tests Positive For EIA Antibodies?

Once a horse has been infected with the virus that causes EIA they have it for life and can transmit the disease (via fly bites) to other horses nearby. For this reason, horses that test positive for Equine Infectious Anemia must either be euthanized, branded, and strictly quarantined more than 200 yards away from other horses for life, or transferred to a research facility.

Why Does My Horse Need An Annual Coggins Test?

Due to the seriousness of EIA and how easily it can be transferred between animals regular Coggins testing for the disease is our best defense in protecting the health of horses across the country.

Since many horses carrying the virus do not display symptoms of the disease, testing horses with no symptoms of EIA is essential for detecting carriers and preventing the further spread of the disease.

Coggins testing is required in both the United States and Canada when exporting horses across the border, and to take horses across state lines.

A negative Coggins test is typically required before your horse can take part in competition and events, and testing is highly recommended for all horses that spend time near other horses whether in fields or boarding stables.

How Is A Coggins Test Performed?

First, your vet will complete an EIA form as they perform the examination which will include details such as your horse's housing location, coloration, marking, age, and breed, and digital images will be taken of your horse.

Next, a blood sample will be taken from your horse which will be analyzed at our in-house accredited lab.

Once testing is complete, we will upload your horses test results directly to Global Vet Link (link to website login) and you will be emailed login instructions to access the results online. Coggins testing can take up to 2 weeks to be processed. We do provide a rush service if needed.

What Are Minnesota & Wisconsin’s Regulations Regarding Coggins Testing?

All horses traveling to and from horse events (shows, auctions, etc.) must have a current Coggins. A Coggins test must be current within 12 months.

Contact Stillwater Equine Veterinary Clinic to book a Coggins test for your horse.