Coggins, Health Certificates, and Brand Inspections

While summer trail riding trips and horse shows may seem like wishful thinking right now, it’s always a good idea to understand what paperwork and lab testing are commonly required when traveling with your horse. What are Coggins Tests, Health Certificates, and Brand Inspections, and when do you need them?

Coggins Test

A coggins is a simple blood test that certifies that your horse does not have Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). This test is generally required annually by many boarding facilities and horse shows. A current coggins is also required for travel across state lines.

This test requires a small blood sample from your horse and as well as digital photos displaying all of his markings. The blood samples are processed at a nearby lab and results are emailed when completed.

Health Certificate

A health certificate may also be called a CVI (certificate of veterinary inspection). A health certificate is mandatory for crossing state lines, and may also be required for some horse shows and events. Generally, a health certificate is valid for 30 days, although during infectious disease outbreaks (such as vesicular stomatitis), individual states may change their requirements for incoming horses. The health certificate requires a brief examination of your horse by your veterinarian, whose signature certifies that your horse is free of disease and healthy for travel. For interstate travel, the horse’s coggins information is also included on the health certificate. It is best to always check with your destination event or state in advance, as health certificate requirements can change.

Brand Inspection

Although not all states issue brand inspections, a brand inspection is required by the state of Colorado for horses traveling greater than 75 miles within Colorado or across the state border, and prior to transfer of ownership. The brand inspections are issued by a brand inspector with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. About 2-3 days notice is required to schedule a brand inspection for your horse. For more information about brand inspections, please see the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website:

Take home message: Plan ahead when organizing for travel with your horse and review any requirements specific to your destination or event. Please help your vet help you by allowing enough time to complete the necessary paperwork and testing so that your trip goes smoothly!

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