Veterinary Certificate Of Inspection For Horses

Every horse has the potential to carry with it diseases that no other horse wants to get.  To prevent the spread of diseases that could have devastating effects on the visiting community of horses, the federal government set up a process of inspecting every horse that ships across state lines.  

Officially, they are called a Veterinary Certificate of Inspection or VCI.  In the US, only veterinarians who are accredited with the USDA (the US department of Agriculture) are allowed to fill them out and perform the inspection.  Veterinarians take this responsibility seriously meaning that if they cut corners they will be held liable for any disease transmission.

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Every horse has the potential to carry with it diseases that no other horse wants to get.  To prevent the spread of diseases that could have devastating effects on the visiting community of horses, the federal government set up a process of inspecting every horse that ships across state lines.  

Officially, they are called a Veterinary Certificate of Inspection or VCI.  In the US, only veterinarians who are accredited with the USDA (the US department of Agriculture) are allowed to fill them out and perform the inspection.  Veterinarians take this responsibility seriously meaning that if they cut corners they will be held liable for any disease transmission.

Every state has the ability to add requirements to the VCI if an animal is coming to their state.  For instance, if a neighboring state has cases of a reportable disease such as Equine Herpes Virus or Strangles, the VCI will state that the horses examined on this VCI shows no signs of the disease nor has been exposed to the disease within the past 14 days.  Each requirement is individualized according to the state’s wishes.  While most states don’t actually check these forms, some do.  For instance every horse trailer entering or leaving Florida needs to stop at the agricultural inspection station and show their VCI and Coggins papers.  

International transport of horses also requires a VCI specific to the country they are traveling to.  In addition, many countries require a quarantine once entering the country plus the passing of tests performed within the receiving country.

Horses are considered livestock just like cattle and swine.  As an industry, if a disease enters the indiginous population then profound economic devastation could occur to the owner and death to thousands of animals.  Pictures of pigs numbering in the thousands with the horrific hoof and mouth disease moved into a pit where they were shot and then buried can be found on the internet.  These animals couldn’t walk or eat due to the lesions of the hooves and the mouth.  Slaughtering was humane as there was no cure for this virus.

Horses also have an economic impact even though they are not used for food here.  Equine Herpes Virus and Vesicular Stomatitis can shut down horse shows and Contagious Equine Metritis can close breeding sheds for a season.  Horse owners moving their stock across state lines are required to have a VCI so that in case of an outbreak of disease, a method of tracking movement (contact tracing) can be easily done.

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