Many stables request a negative coggins test before a horse is allowed to showed or be boarded there. Furthermore, some states even require negative proof for interstate travel and competitions. Most horse owners have heard the name mentioned, but know little about the test.

What is the Coggins Test?

The test examines your horse’s blood for the contamination of equine infectious anemia antibodies. Only licensed veterinarians can test for it. They must submit the bloodwork to government laboratories. A positive test will be reported to the correct authorities. A negative result is desirable.

Equine Infectious Anemia

Also known as swamp fever, EIA is transmitted through biting insects, such as horseflies. It can also be passed through contaminated needles and dental equipment. This serious condition is contagious and can be fatal. Approximately, 30% to 50% of infected horses will die. Many times, a horse will be put down immediately if tested positive for the virus.


  • Refusal to eat
  • Weight loss
  • Weak/ extreme fatigue
  • High fever
  • Swelling in legs, chest, and gut
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Depression

Treatment & Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no cure for EIA or preventive vaccine. Horses that have tested positive must be quarantined for the rest of their lives or humanely euthanized. You can keep your horse’s risk to a minimal by getting a coggins test annually, not sharing needles, only going to shows that require negative tests, and lowering fly populations. Always require a current coggins when purchasing a new horse or when accepting a new boarder.

Equine Infectious Anemia is nothing to take lightly. It can change the lives of you and your horse!