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 issuing health certificates has to come through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP). NVAP-accredited vets may perform testing for government disease programs and are authorized to prepare Official Certificates of Veterinary Inspection, or "health certificates" which 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.
The certifications required to transport animals from one area to another, or for animals to participate in certain events, such as specific shows, rides, or sales, help to ensure that the animals being moved do not carry illnesses or parasites that would be harmful to the people or animals that are in the destination area or that 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 has different regulations and requirements so there is no easy answer to this question. In order to know exactly what certifications your animal will need you will have 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, or clarifications on your state's requirements speak to your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to help direct you to the right resources in order to help make this task a little easier.