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NC Horse Owners Can Apply for Interstate Health Permit

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Horse owners who frequently travel out of the state of North Carolina with their animals for horse shows and festivals can take advantage of a new agreement between Southern states that will eliminate the need to obtain monthly animal health certificates.

The agreement between Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia will allow horse owners to apply for an Equine Event Permit that will be good for up to six months in any of the listed states. Some states had reciprocal agreements in the past, but this is the first agreement of its kind in South.

"I think equine owners will appreciate the savings this permit will offer in both time and money," State Veterinarian Dr. David Marshall said. "I don't think the extended length of the health certificate will affect the health of our horses. Event managers will still have the right to turn away any animal that is visibly sick, and Veterinary Division personnel will continue to make random health checks at events. The equine community is very conscious of illnesses and takes the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of diseases among animals."

To receive a permit, North Carolina horse owners must send proof of a negative Coggins test and Certificate of Veterinary Inspection along with an application and a $5 processing fee for each animal to the N.C. State Veterinarian. Owners must also submit proof of permanent identification, which includes tattoos, brands, microchips or digital photos showing the left and right sides, as well as a frontal view, of the horse. Digital photos will not be accepted as a form of identification in Louisiana.

The issued permit will be good for six months, unless the Coggins test expires beforehand. Owners will still be required to carry the Coggins information and original health certificate with them when they travel. Owners will also be required to travel with a microchip reader if the equine is identified by microchip.

The application and more information about the permit can be downloaded at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Veterinary Division website at, or by calling (919) 733-7601.