Questions About Health Papers
This information is based on personal experience and is in no way legal advise, it is always best to check with the appropriate State or Federal agencies to get legal answers.
- From reading regulations in different states regarding the movement of horses, it seems that in most states if you transport a horse on any municipal road, you are required to have a negative coggins test document no older than one year. If you travel out of state you should have a Health Certificate issued by your vet as well as your coggins.
- Health certificates are only valid if they are original, or the carbon copy given by the vet. A photo copy is invalid. Also, if a horse that is listed on the certificate does not go on the trip, leave it on the health certificate. If you write on the health certificate in becomes invalid. You just tell anyone who asks that the horse didn't come along.
- Health certificates are valid for thirty days. Lets say you travel to Florida and stay three weeks, when you leave, as long as the date of the certificate is within thirty days, you can use the same health certificate. The origin and destination on the health certificate will be different, but that is okay, it's the date that is important. Some people will say you don't need a health certificate when leaving Florida, which may be the case, I don't know, but Georgia has a roving Agriculture Department enforcement unit that could stop you and ask for papers, you better have a health certificate. (I have been stopped)
- A question asked of me all the time is "I have a copy of the coggins, is that okay?". I will probably say no unless it is somehow identified as a true copy. I am not saying a copy isn't sufficient, it is just better. I have been told by a Florida Department of Agriculture Officer that Florida law prohibits copies. Many inspectors will let you slide with a copy, but it better be clear with no obvious changes. If you do use a copy, you better make sure the accession number of the coggins and the dates match what is on the health certificate, also you should have a good description of the horse is on the certificate, using at least three points of identification, such as tattoos, face markings, or leg markings (if you use bandages they may need to be removed to confirm markings).
- Florida requires a coggins within a year, California six months. Traveling into Canada requires a coggins within six months and a different type of health certificate. You will need a USDA VS 17-145 health certificate from an accredited vet and endorsed by a federal vet. You should have an original VS 17-145 plus two copies.
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