Horsing Around – Coggins Test

(Chris) Hello and welcome to Horsing Around, I’m Dr. Chris Blevins here at Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center. And today we’re gonna talk about the Coggins test, the Coggins test for your horse and what that includes. Initially most people will get a Coggins test especially if they go over state lines and then question, “What is the Coggins test? Why do we do it?” Well the Coggins test actually tests for a certain disease, a certain virus called the Equine Infectious Anemia. And that virus is in the same realm of viruses as the HIV in people. So that is something… and AIDS… so that at least helps people understand a little bit about the virus and why we test horses for this disease. It sure would be nice if we had a vaccine for that type of virus, but again, just like in people, we don’t really have a good vaccine for it, so we do testing. And with that test in the horse it is called the Coggins test, we submit and draw one red
top tube of serum blood of the horse and then we submit it to the lab. That lab runs a test as an AGID or an ELIZA test and then those results are then submitted on a documentation that the owner then keeps for, either when they go to different shows may be required, or when they’re going across state lines and have to be on a health certificate. Most current Coggins tests need to be at least six months, but a lot of states require it to be on the health certificate for being one year. So, if it’s been a year since the Coggins test has been taken, it can go on a health certificate. Always
remember that whenever you do a Coggins test that, again, it does do just a point in time and some want to have a test that is fairly recent. So, with those things always keep everything in mind when it comes to testing. Do we have Equine Infectious Anemia in the United States? Do we have it in Kansas? The answer to both those questions is yes. We do have positives for the disease in the United States and even in Kansas. The prevalence is very low. But this is why we do testing, so we can find those that are positive, so we can then talk to and it is reported to the state veterinarian and they make recommendations whether to quarantine or sometimes to even euthanize the horse based on where the horse is located and if we can quarantine it far enough away. So, why would that be an important aspect of quarantine or euthanizing? Because the disease is spread by biting insects, or biting flies, or even dirty needles. So again, any of those aspects
could play a role in transmitting that virus from one horse to the next. So, always use a fresh, clean needle whenever you’re vaccinating your horses so you don’t transmit a disease called Equine Infectious Anemia. The other thing is based on the biting flies, that if they just start with biting one they could go and transfer it to another horse. And again the prevalence is fairly low but it’s always possible to have a positive even
here in Kansas. If you have any questions or concerns about the test, please contact your veterinarian or call us here at Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center and we can give you more information about it. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins for Horsing Around and we’ll see you around.

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