Letters to the editor – November 10, 2016

Coggins testing compulsory

I’m interested in how the federation of horse owners is going to police the Coggins test, or swamp fever testing, if it has to be mandatory for all horses.

The government will have to step up to the plate and get every horse in Canada tested, as it is costly for horse owners, since it has to be done twice a year.

The veterinarian draws blood and has it tested at the provincial lab. If it’s a negative test at the time, with in a few hours, or days, the horse may be bitten by an infected insect and would test positive when they repeated the test.

Every horse in Canada — whether slated for meat, every stock contractor, bucking stock, family owned horses, race horse breeder, horse trainers, show horses or trail and pleasure horses — all have to be tested twice a year.

I don’t know how they are going to eradicate swamp fever with all the mosquitoes, or deer, or horse flies that are at large.

Is this a purpose to get rid of all horse shows, rodeos, trail riders, etc., as it is expensive to get horses done twice a year? It may be OK if you have one or two horses, but there are a lot of people who own dozens and dozens of horses.

Sure, horses that are going across the border have to be tested; that’s understandable, but unless they have a program to eliminate all insects that carry the virus, we still have a problem.

What happens with the wild horse program in Alberta? They would all have to corralled and tested. This would be stressful for these horses, and who would be paying the vet bill?

Is swamp fever transmitted by mucous secretions, or is it sexually transmitted, or is it just transmitted by biting insects? Then why is testing required twice a year?

What does happen to these horses if a positive test is discovered? Can they be sold for meat, or do they have to be put down?

This is a disease that has to start with the insects that carry the virus, and how do you control this?

Elaine Cozart
Brownlee, Sask.



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