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Equine Veterinary Services clinic in Terrrell, Texas
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HELP - I NEED HEALTH PAPERS!

By Dr. Lindsey Zanca
 Health Certificate

Equine Health Certificates, or a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), are issued by a veterinarian after the inspection of your animal. Health certificates are a special form used as documentation to regulate the movement of livestock as an aid to help local, state, and federal veterinarians monitor and control the occurrence and spread of disease. Health certificates are often known as "health papers for your horse."

Q: When might you need a Health Certificate for your horses?
A:  Health certificates are required for interstate (out-of-state) travel and some intrastate travel depending on the state and reason for movement. Some examples include: traveling to horse shows, fairs or trail rides and horse sales.  Purchasing or selling a horse from/to another state also requires a health certificate to get the horse to its new home.  Traveling to Canada or Mexico require an International Health Certificate for the trip. Horses being shipped to foreign countries also require this specialized International Health Certificate and oftentimes more documentation.

Q: What is involved in getting a Health Certificate?
A:  Several items are involved with getting a valid health certificate. A valid negative Coggins test within the last year is required for each horse listed on the health certificate. Your vet will need a small blood sample to send to the lab for the test. This test can take 1 to 3 days to come back - so planning ahead is important. Remember the Coggins test is the same everywhere but cost, care and efficiency does vary. Do not wait until the day you plan to travel to talk to your veterinarian about a health certificate.  Your veterinarian will also need to do a quick examination of your horse to check for easily transmittable diseases.  Common factors considered when a veterinarian determines a horse's eligibility to travel includes temperature, body condition score, a lack of upper respiratory infection signs and no presence of lesions commonly seen in contagious diseases.

  Once your horse has been examined and a current Coggins acquired, the paperwork part begins to obtain your horse's health certificate. Your veterinarian and staff will need some information from you - so be sure to have it handy.  You will need to have the address where the horse has been staying/living and the address of your destination.  Some states require a permit number for entry as well - so getting the destination information to your veterinarian early is very important.  Your veterinarian will call the corresponding state office for this number and any other requirements.  Travel requirements vary constantly so give your veterinarian the information with plenty of time to create the correct health certificate for your travel.  Otherwise you may not be able to enter the state of your destination.  Penalties for not complying with the destination states requirements can include fines or even having your horses quarantined at the border.  The issuing veterinarian will also have trouble for not properly executing the health certificate and be reprimanded by the state office.

Q: Why are there so many pages in the Doctor's Health Certificate book?
A:   Health certificates come in a paper form and/or a digital form.  At Equine Veterinary Services we use paper health certificates.  When you pick up your health certificates you may notice the variety of different color carbon copies.  The white copy is yours; the owner or transporters copy.  The yellow copy is the issuing veterinarian's copy that stays in their office.  The blue and pink copies are mailed to the issuing state board.  In Texas, this is the Texas Animal Health Commissions office.  They actually forward one copy of the multi-carbon health certificate to the destination state as well.

Q: How long is a Health Certificate good?'s Health Certificate book?
A:  Health certificates are usually good for 30 days, yet every show, sale and destination can have shorter requirements on health certificates for admittance.

Equine Veterinary Services
Rai sing the Standard in Equine Health

Kenton H. Arnold, DVM
Jennifer Wickline, DVM

Carrie Benson, Office Coordinator
505 W. British Flying School Blvd. (FM 2578)
Terrell, Texas 75160
Clinic - 972.524.7075
Fax - 972.563.7053
Emergency - 214.794.4832
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