What Are Health Certificates For Horses?

Last Updated on September 9, 2022

There are certain times when you may need health certificates for horses, but it can be very confusing trying to figure out what you need and how to get it! Let’s find out everything you need to know about health certificates for horses and why they might be needed.

What Are Health Certificates For Horses?

Around the world, health certificates are used to confirm the health status of animals. This is normally issued for travel purposes, to ensure that a horse moving from one region or country to another is not carrying an infectious disease. Health certificates are also used when breeding horses, to ensure that they are free from sexually transmitted diseases.

This might all sound like a lot of hassle, but it is a vital part of keeping our horses safe from infectious diseases. If you are planning on attending an event with your horse, knowing that all the equines present have a valid health certificate can be a big reassurance.

Having a health certificate is not a substitute for common sense and good hygiene practices when traveling with your horse. It is never advisable to allow your horse to have nose-to-nose contact with an unknown horse, as a health certificate is not a guarantee that they are free from disease.

If you have traveled with your horse, it is important to monitor him closely for the next few days for signs of ill health, particularly lethargy and respiratory symptoms. Travelling is a high-risk activity for horses and greatly increases the risk of ill health and disease.

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When Are Health Certificates Required For Horses?

There are many situations in which you may need a health certificate for a horse. If you are moving a horse from one country to another, it is highly likely that you will need a health certificate, along with movement and export papers. This is a common process that many people who compete on their horses around the world will be familiar with.

Without the right paperwork, a horse going from one country to another may be required to undergo a period of quarantine or could be refused entry to the country.

But if you are not intending on going abroad with your horse, do you still need a health certificate? In some countries, such as the United States, a health certificate is required to move the horse from one state to another – this is called crossing state lines. The reason for this is to prevent the spread of equine infectious diseases from one state to another.

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In most US states, a valid health certificate will need to be accompanied by a negative Coggins test. This test confirms that the horse has not been infected with Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), a disease that can be spread quickly amongst the horse population.

EIA is more prevalent in some US states than others, and the equine health certificate is designed to limit the spread of this disease. However, the rules surrounding the requirements for health certificates will vary from state to state, depending on the disease status in that area. A horse travelling from a high-risk zone may get a certificate and Coggins test that is only valid for 72 hours.

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How To Get A Health Certificate For Horses

To get a health certificate for your horse, your first port of call will be your veterinary clinic. They will be accustomed to the processes surrounding the issuing of health certificates, as well as the rules that apply to your region or country. These rules can change frequently, so it is vital to always seek out the most up-to-date information.

How and where your horse’s health certificate is issued will depend on the type of certificate you require. For a horse crossing state lines in the US, your veterinary clinic should be able to deal with the relevant paperwork and issue the certificate. For more complex situations, such as a horse being exported abroad, you may need the services of a government-appointed state vet to process the paperwork.

How To Get A Health Certificate For Horses

Summary – Health Certificates For Horses

So, as we have learned, health certificates for horses are an official document that has been certified by a qualified and registered veterinarian. Depending on the type of certificate, you may need a government-appointed state veterinarian to certify your horse’s health, and they may need to take samples for laboratory tests. Health certificates for horses are required to control the spread of infectious diseases, and not having the correct documentation could lead to financial penalties or other punishments.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on health certificates for horses! Do you find it difficult to understand when you might need a health certificate for your horse? Or maybe you’ve come across a situation where you’re not sure whether you need a health certificate or not? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!


Where can I get an animal health certificate for horses?

If you need an animal health certificate, the first point of contact should be the veterinary clinic that you are registered with. They will be able to tell you the local disease control requirements in your area, as well as any laboratory tests that may be necessary before a health certificate is issued.

Where do I get a CVI for horses?

If you need a CVI for your horse, your veterinarian will need to carry out a full physical examination of your horse. They may also need to take samples to check for infectious diseases such as Equine Infectious Anemia. If the examination and tests are negative, they will issue an official health certificate, known as a Certificate of Veterinarian Inspection (CVI).

How long is a Coggins certificate good for?

The length of time that a Coggins certificate is good for will vary according to your geographical location. This is because the validity period of a Certificate of Veterinarian Inspection (CVI) is dependent on the disease risk in that area. In a high risk zone it may only be valid for 72 hours, whereas in low risk regions they can be extended to up to six months.

How much does a Coggins test cost?

The cost of a Coggins test for horses starts at around $20, but you will normally have to pay for the veterinarian to take the sample and process it on top of this.