With this weekend's upcoming Preakness horse race, and everyone's favorite longshot Derby winner Mine That Bird slated to run against Rachel Alexandra (I've gotta say, I like her name!), I thought I'd cover a few essentials of domestic and international horse transportation today.
As the resident equine expert (I spent many years riding horses and managing a hunter/jumper stable here in Austin), I typically handle all of the horse shipping requests.
Some main things to remember when pet moving horses are:
Coggins Tests - Whether you are moving internationally or domestically with your horse, your horse will need a current Coggins test. Some countries require a Coggins test to be done within 30 days of the move, or sometimes even less, so it's a good idea to check with your PetRelocation specialist or the consulate office (if you are arranging your own horse transportation). Coggins tests for "equine infectious anemia" which is a viral disease that has no cure or vaccine.
Health Certificates - All horses crossing state lines within the US will need an interstate health certificate dated within 10 days of travel. For international travel, the health certificates will need to be endorsed by the USDA APHIS veterinary service office in your state.
Fecal Flotation Test - Most horses traveling internationally will need a fecal flotation test to examine them for internal parasites, as well as an external examination by a qualified veterinarian for external parasites.
Other Equine Diseases - Equines are considered to be carriers of many diseases, like West Nile, brucellosis, tuberculosis, and trypanosomiases (which the US is currently free of pathogenic strains).
Flying horses can be considered risky, so it's a good idea to make sure you work with a professional company familiar with horse shipping that can send a experienced handler along with your horse in the cargo hold (this is a requirement for all horse transport by air). Additionally, there is usually a pre-export and post-import quarantine for horses traveling internationally, which can add to the overall cost.