There are a few requirements that must be met in order to transport your horse(s) across state and country borders. These include Coggins testing, obtaining a Health Certificate and Brand inspection/Livestock identification.
These are mandatory requirements and if you are stopped by the authorities without these documents large fines and interruption of your trip could result. Scheduling for performance of these exams and tests and returning of results from the laboratory for a few of these can take a few days so please plan accordingly and allow a couple of weeks prior to your estimated travel time for their performance.
Coggins test - Designed by Dr. Leroy Coggins, this test screens horses for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). All states require a negative Coggins test before a horse may be transported across state lines. Many competitions and sales require a negative Coggins test for all horses entered. Depending on the state or competition, this negative test must have been obtained during the previous 6-12 months. The EIA virus is spread through the blood of infected horses, and infects only horses. Biting insects, especially horse flies and deer flies, carry the virus from horse to horse. The Coggins test is simple, inexpensive, and well worth the peace of mind that comes from knowing your horse remains negative for EIA.
Health Certificates - When you are transporting your horse nationally, or internationally, you must have a current health certificate completed by a veterinarian which states that your horse is healthy and free of contagious diseases. Depending on your destination, your health certificate will be valid for either 30 days or 6 months. A negative Coggins test is required for completion of a health certificate.
Livestock Identification/Brand Inspections - Brand Inspections are required for all horses who leave Washington state, even if they are returning. They function as proof of ownership. There is a possibility of a large fine if you do not have a brand inspection when you are traveling. This is necessary on all horses, not just those who have a brand. Three types of brand inspections are available in Washington State and the type you require will depend on your particular situation.
1. A one-way brand inspection is used if a change of ownership is involved and the horse is being transported out of the state to its new owner. Additionally, the one-way inspection will be used if the current owner is moving out of state with his or her horse and does not plan to bring the horse back to Washington.
2. An annual brand inspection is a temporary certificate good for one year. This is most useful if the horse is for sale, but will need to be transported out of state prior to sale or if an owner is planning on showing a horse only for one year.
3. A lifetime brand inspection is proof of ownership as long as the horse is in your possession. Once completed, the state will send the owner a permanent brand inspection card.
If you are going to obtain a Brand Inspection, the certified veterinarian will require proof of ownership, i.e. bill of sale, registration papers, etc., to complete the paperwork.For more information, contact your veterinarian, or the Washington State Department of Agriculture in Olympia.