West Virginia to Accept Six-Month Equine Health Certificates

West Virginia has joined a group of southern states in a formal agreement to mutually accept six-month equine health certificates, according to Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick.

West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) State Veterinarian Jewell Plumley, DVM, said that the state has issued and accepted such permits in the past, but this is the first time that a formal program has been developed among southern states, including neighboring Virginia, which recently began issuing six-month permits

“This will eliminate the need for horse owners to obtain 30-day permits to bring their animals into West Virginia,” said Plumley. “That way, they can participate in a season of equine events without having to renew their paperwork every month.”

To receive a permit, horse owners must send the receiving state proof of a negative Coggins test, a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI), and an application filled out in full and signed by a licensed veterinarian.

They must also submit proof of permanent identification—including tattoos, brands and microchips—and photos showing the left, right, and front of the animal. All photos must show a full view of the animal from the tips of the ears to the hooves. In West Virginia, digital photos can be sent on a disk, and printed photos must be clear enough to be scanned. E-mailed photos will not be accepted by West Virginia because of technical issues downloading them. All materials should be stapled or paper clipped together.

The states will issue permits good for six months, unless the Coggins test expires beforehand. Owners will still be required to carry the Coggins information and original CVI, and they must carry a microchip reader if the equine is identified by microchip. They must also carry an accurate, up-to-date itinerary that documents each equine movement as it happens. An itinerary form is included with the application.

West Virginia will continue to issue 30-day permits as well. The health certification requirements remain the same, but the 30-day permit does not carry the animal identification requirements.

States participating in the program are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

For more information, call the WVDA Animal Health Division at 304/558-2214.

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