If you have a horse, chances are your buddy has had a Coggins test. That’s because all states require it. But do you actually know what it’s for?
The Coggins test checks for antibodies to equine infectious anemia virus — or EIA — in a horse’s blood. EIA causes chronic, sometimes fatal infections in horses, and it’s easily transmitted from one horse to another by flying insects. However, some horses simply carry the virus without appearing sick.
Testing requirements for EIA were instituted decades ago to help regulate the movement of virus carriers. Most states don’t allow horses to enter without negative Coggins test results from the last 6 to 12 months.
The really scary thing about EIA is that there’s no vaccine to prevent it and no treatment to cure it. That’s why the Coggins test is so important in bridging the gaps in protection.