Traveling with Your Horse? Reduce the Red Tape

Whether it’s a short distance or a long trip, you’ve got a lot to think about any time you haul your horse. Getting all the right tests done and paperwork filled out may seem like a lot of extra time and money. However, there are some very good reasons why these examinations and documents are required. In this article, you’ll find out what you need to travel and why.

What You Need

There are three broad categories of travel: intrastate, interstate and international (the last is beyond the scope of this article). Depending on your reason for travel and your final destination, you may need the same kind of documentation for intrastate travel (travel within the state of origin) that is required for interstate travel (travel outside the state of origin).

Intrastate Travel

For example, if you are trailering your horse to a show, more than likely the show officials will ask to see a copy of your horse’s negative Coggins test, the most commonly used means of finding antibody to the equine infectious anemia (EIA) virus. If you are transporting a horse to an auction, the facility may require that each horse be accompanied by a health certificate, also known as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). These certificates, which attest that the horse exhibits no obvious signs of disease on the day of inspection and are signed by your veterinarian, are generally good for 30 days, although some are limited to just 10 days.

Interstate Travel

What changes when you want to travel with your horse outside your own state? Not only is a negative EIA test required for entry into all 50 states, it must be performed at an accredited laboratory (your veterinarian will know which laboratories are accredited). Your veterinarian will also be able to tell you if your destination state requires this test be performed within 12 months of entry, within 6 months or, for states like Wisconsin, within the calendar year (Hawaii requires the test be performed within three months of entry).

Also, with some exceptions that will be pointed out later, all states require that a health certificate accompany horses entering their borders. Some require that the horse’s body temperature the day of examination be recorded on the health certificate, others require specific statements about the current status of a specific disease, and a few even require proof of specific vaccinations or additional testing. While your veterinarian is obligated to submit the health certificate to the origin state veterinarian’s office prior to shipment, some states require that an approved copy of the health certificate be submitted to the destination state veterinarian’s office after entry.

Within the last few years, some states have begun requiring an additional document, the entry or import permit.  This is a free document that you or your veterinarian can obtain from the state of your final destination by phone and sometimes by Internet. An entry permit is usually good for the life of your Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. A word of advice for both these documents: include every stop you will be making in the state to avoid any problems.

Horse owners in certain states have an alternative method of complying with interstate health requirements. Two different groups of states have formed reciprocal livestock health arrangements so that people who travel frequently with their horses between these neighboring states do not have to keep getting health certificates every 30 days. Ask your veterinarian if you live or are traveling to a state that accepts the Six Month Equine Certificate, also known as an “equine passport” or “extended validity CVI.”

Finally, even if your horse doesn’t have a brand, he may still need to undergo a brand inspection to establish proof of ownership. Contact a state brand inspector through your state department of agriculture of state police if you live in a western state.  Frequent travelers should inquire about a Lifetime Brand Inspection Certificate, available in some states.

Why You Need It

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) accredits veterinarians to carry out these and other services. Local veterinarians work with their state veterinarian and the Area Veterinarian-in-Charge (AVIC) to protect the health and well being of both you and your horse by preventing, controlling and eradicating animal disease. In recent years, state and federal animal regulations have protected the United States equine industry from vesicular stomatitis, screwworm, piroplasmosis and, most recently, West Nile Encephalitis.

Just because you do not travel internationally or even interstate with your horse doesn’t mean you are safe from the effects of foreign (or not-so-foreign) animal diseases. Even if your horse does not come into direct contact with a sick horse that has traveled extensively, once any horse shows signs of a reportable disease for that state, equine transportation from that location and sometimes even from that state may be shut down. Complying with our country’s disease prevention requirements helps keep our national equine industry healthy and active.

Finally, complying with animal transport requirements not only serves to protect your horse and the horses he or she comes into contact with, it also lays an excellent paper trail should there be any question of your horse’s disease status. Veterinary examinations, negative EIA test results, body temperature and vaccination records are all in one place for easy retrieval.

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Barn Skills

Recent Posts


2 comments on “Traveling with Your Horse? Reduce the Red Tape
  1. Elisha Trombley says:

    How does one find out what the requirements are for each state?

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Elisha – We are so sorry that we missed your blog question when you first posted it. We sincerely apologize but want to recommend that you (and anyone else curious) utilize your veterinarian’s “insider” knowledge to navigate tricky government rules and regulations. They will have the best resources to make sure you are prepared before hitting the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Share it:
SmartPak is the Official Tack and Equipment Supplier of the USEF.
Members save 5% off all purchases.
You'll this

SmartCombo™ Senior Pellets


As Low As: $55.95
(67 reviews)
Have questions? Contact us »
Connect with us:

Meet the SmartPakers

Jen and Tally
Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

Learn more »

Read our blog

Ask the Vet
Every week our staff veterinarian, Dr. Lydia Gray, answers tough horse health questions from riders just like you.

Read her latest answer now »

Healthy horses, happy riders.
SmartPak is committed to a greener planet.
Sign Up Now!
Free Catalog Get Yours Now!

SmartPak Equine is the premier online provider of horse supplies and equine supplements.
Questions? Call us Toll-Free at 1-888-752-5171. © Copyright 2013 by SmartPak Equine LLC. All Rights reserved.