Why Does My Horse Need a Coggins Test?

Why was my horse was turned away from a horse show because we didn’t have proof of a current negative Coggins test?

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why does my horse need a coggins test
A Coggins test screens horses’ blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of EIA. | Photo: Stephanie L. Church/The Horse

Q.Why does my horse need a Coggins test? He was turned away from a horse show because we didn’t have proof of a current negative Coggins test. Is it really that important?

—Via e-mail

A.To answer the question directly, you were turned away because it is customary to monitor the serum of horses for antibodies to equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV)—and we use testing to prevent the movement of virus carriers and spread of the infection caused by that lentivirus (a virus that can cause slowly progressive, often fatal animal diseases)

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Written by:

Charles J. Issel, DVM, PhD, is a professor emeritus at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky (UK). He has studied equine infectious anemia since 1974 while on the faculty at Louisiana State University (until 1990) and at UK. Issel bred Thoroughbreds in Louisiana prior to working at UK.

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