If you have ever had to travel with your farm animals or your horse to a different state, you know it isn't just as simple as hitching up the trailer and going on your way. Here, our Columbia vets explain how you can get a health certificate for your large animal for traveling across state lines.
Who can issue Health Certificates for large animals?
You might think that any licensed veterinarian is qualified to issue health certificates for their patients, but that is actually not the case.
All licensed vets have the opportunity to choose whether or not they would like to take on additional training required to become an accredited vet who is able to issue health certificates.
Accreditation, in order to issue health certificates, comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP). Veterinarians who are accredited through the NVAP may perform testing for government disease programs and are qualified to prepare Official Certificates of Veterinary Inspection, commonly just called 'health certificates.' These are required for owners to transport their animals across state or national borders.
Why do I need Health Certifications for my animals?
All livestock (including horses, cows and goats) brought into a state must be accompanied by an official health certificate stating that each animal is healthy, free from signs of infectious or contagious diseases and any signs of internal and external parasites, and meet the specific requirements stated in this regulation.
Certifications that are required to transport animals from one place to another, or for animals to participate in certain events like rides, show or sales, help to make sure that animals being moved from place to place aren't bearing any parasites, diseases, illnesses and more that may be hurtful to the people and animals that are in their destination area or are participating in the same event.
How long are Health Certificates valid for?
It's important to note that health certificates are only valid for 30 days. So if you are planning to travel with your horse or other farm animals, it is vitally important that you plan ahead. Be sure to contact your large animal veterinarian well ahead of time to book your animal's certification health inspection.
How do I know what certifications my animal needs?
Every state and country have different regulations and requirements, so there is no easy answer to this question. In order to learn exactly what certifications your animal will need based on where you are travelling to, you will need to do some research.
A helpful resource for information about animal movement requirements is the state animal health official (usually the State Veterinarian) in the state that you are traveling to. The animal health official of each state needs to be a standing member of the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA).
If you would like more details about required health certifications and clarifications on your state's requirements for travel, ask your vet. They will be able to direct you to the right resources in order to help make this task a bit easier.