Louisiana Joins Texas, Other States In Equine Passport Program

It's a done deal. The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state's livestock health regulatory agency, reports Louisiana has joined the "equine passport" program. This program is for horses, donkeys, mules and asses originating within and traveling among the participating states: Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana.

"We are very happy to join the four states already using this six-month health document," said Maxwell Lea, DVM, Louisiana's state veterinarian. "We've received positive comments from equine owners about this program and think it will provide convenience and benefits for riders from all the states involved."

The six-month equine passport can be used for intra- or interstate travel, in lieu of a certificate of veterinary inspection (health paper), which is valid only 30 to 45 days, depending on the state in which it is presented. Equids that will be traveling under the equine passport program must be permanently identified with a tattoo, brand or microchip implant. The animals also must be tested negative for the viral disease Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), also called "Coggins," within 30 days prior to being issued the passport. The official EIA test document, called a VS 10-11, must be presented with the equine passport when entering participating states.

"Under the passport program, equine owners need only one passport and an EIA test document for an entire season of travel to nearby states," said Lea. "It will save producers time and money and attract riders from other participating states."

Terry Beals, DVM, Texas state veterinarian and TAHC executive director, said about 50 passports have been issued for Texas equids. "It's early in the trail ride, rodeo and competition season, and I expect other owners who travel among the passport states will be contacting their accredited veterinarians for the document," he said. "The passport may not be used at Texas pari-mutuel race tracks, but all other major shows and events welcome the document."

For more information on obtaining the equine passport, owners or trainers may contact their accredited veterinarian or call their TAHC area office, or the Permits section at the TAHC in Austin at 800/550-8242, ext. 777.

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