A Coggins test is one of the many precautions horse owners need to take. A yearly mandatory requirement, these tests come in handy for ensuring your animal doesn’t have any nasty diseases that could spread and harm other animals or humans.
Horses are often at risk of contracting the Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) virus when they come into contact with blood-sucking flies. This disease is known as “swamp fever” because it can be acquired in swampy areas where there is a lot of stagnant water and vegetation for mosquitoes to breed, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your horse’s health just because they never got close to swamps. A Coggins test will ensure not only their wellbeing but also eliminate the risks associated with spreading this dangerous illness to other horses.
Just how much does a horse Coggins test cost?
It can be hard to determine the cost of a Coggins test since prices vary from state to state. The best way is to visit your veterinarian. Average fees will range anywhere between $20 and $60 depending on where in America you live and what is the level of living standards in your area. The price will also depend on whether or not your vet is required to visit your farm and the distance between their office and you.
Members of HorseTrailerWorld report that they have paid between $45 and $60 per Coggin’s test themselves, but members at HorseGroomingSupplies say their local vets charge about $25 per test – and many times this is even cheaper if purchased directly through an online veterinarian clinic.
Details on the horse Coggins test
The Coggins test is a blood-based diagnostic tool that checks for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) antibodies. The vet takes samples of the horse’s blood and tests these in a state-approved laboratory to determine whether or not your pet needs treatment, has had exposure to this disease before, if they are safe around other horses/pets, etc. Most cases will take up to 7 days after taking the sample in order for results from testing to come back.
According to HorseChannel.com, the frequency of taking a Coggins test varies from state to state in America. If you travel with your horse for competition or any other reason, it is likely that each year you will have to put your horse through new tests; if you only stay within one state’s borders and never leave them then getting the test every few years might suffice depending on regulations. It is always wise to talk to your vet before deciding on how often these tests need to be taken so as not to break any laws.
Factors that will influence the price
As mentioned, the prices for the test differ from one state to another. Some vets might charge more than others due to a lack of competition in your area and you should know what price is average so as not to get ripped off on charges that are too high.
Just like medical doctors, veterinarians will charge a different price per hour or procedure done.
Any extra costs to consider?
As a horse owner, you may have the option to personally bring your horse in for testing or allow the vet to visit your farm. The latter is usually referred to as “farm call.” This can be favorable if there are many horses that need testing at once and it depends on what rate the vet charges; but averagely this service will cost $20-$70. However, sometimes veterinarians find more than one disease when examining a horse so additional vaccines might be needed which could raise costs even further – sometimes up to $200.
If you’re traveling with your horse, or if you plan on going to a competition with them soon, it’s important that have all the necessary documents in order. In many cases this will include having an up-to-date health certificate; and while most certificates can be obtained at any time of year without much trouble (it may just take some extra paperwork and a fee of $25 or so), there is often a rush fee associated with getting one within 24 hours from the vet.
Tips to remember
The Coggins Test is named after Dr. Leroy Coggins, who developed the test at Cornell University and was also a member of the Equine Infectious Anemia study committee for 10 years, between 1971 and 1980. It can be used to detect three different sets of symptoms: Acute (fever, depression, or loss appetite), Chronic (loss weight), and Asymptomatic Carrier (~2% population). The EIA tests will only be positive about one month and a half after the onset of the illness so it’s difficult to diagnose if a horse has Acute Equine Infectious Anaemia with just the help from this particular test.
Horrible statistics show that approximately one-third of infected horses will die within a month from the acute form. However, some states have now required all equines to take and pass a negative Coggins test before they are sold. This is not an anti-virus shot or vaccine; it will only be done to stop the spread of Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) to healthy horses and not to cure the ones that are already infected.
Is there any way to spend less?
If you have a family veterinarian, then see if there are any loyalty discounts being offered. If you share the barn with other owners of horses, it may be worthwhile to share vet calls and split expenses amongst each other so that all of the horses are taken care of.