from the Vet Corner Archives

Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 3/6/98; 2:00:00 PM.


Veterinary Corner 3/98: The Interstate Equine Passport

by Frosty Franklin, DVM
Edgecliff Equine Hospital
S. 1322 Park Road, Spokane, WA 99212 * 509/924-6069


One of the annoying and necessary events in the life of a horseperson is summoning the veterinarian to examine a perfectly healthy horse for a health certificate that will allow you and your horse to travel legally interstate. Usually you have forgotten about this little legality until the last minute. Then you remember, Oh my Gosh!, it takes like what, a week to get a Coggins test? And your blood pressure goes straight up! Well relax, there have been some improvements.

Three years ago at a meeting of State Veterinarians from around the western United States an agreement was reached by 6 states in which health certificates for horses would be good for 6 months. Those states were California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana.

These equine health certificates that are good for 6 months for unlimited travel in those 6 states are known as "Passport Health Certificates." On the "Passport" form an accurate drawing of all markings and brands on the horse is required. The permanent or annual brand inspection certificate number and the Coggins test results are also mandatory.

The owners name and address and phone number must be provided, as well as, the name and stabling address of the horse. A traveling permit number must be obtained by telephone from Montana, Oregon and Washington. The phone numbers are provided on the "Passport" form.

Now here is the kicker! On the back of the horse owners copy of this "Passport" form is an itinerary of the interstate travel for that individual horse. That form must be filled out as it is used in the horse's travel from state to state within 6 states involved in the "Passport" agreement. Then, within 10 days after the 6 month "Passport Health Certificate" expires a copy showing both sides of the "Passport" (i.e. front and back) must be mailed to the state veterinarian of each state entered, including the state of Washington.

Ahhhh! American bureaucracy!

Seriously, the State Veterinarian's office informs me that if the travel itinerary is not filled out and sent in, the "Passport" health program may be discontinued in the future.

Now if you are traveling to any other state with your horse, all bets are off. You can use the Coggins test on your "Passport Health Certificate" but you will have to summon your veterinarian again for a regular 30 day health certificate.

If you are thoroughly confused by what is written above, you're not alone! It has taken me three years and writing this column to figure it all out!

On April 25, 1998 the Backcountry Horsemen, Dr. Luther McConnell, the area brand inspectors, The Washington State Patrol and I will be putting on a health certificate extravaganza where horsemen can get an "Equine Passport Health Certificate," brand inspection and horse trailer inspection at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. It should be fun and will save horsemen a few dollars as well.

The Washington Backcountry Horsemen will be advertising this event in the near future.

Happy Travels!

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