I’m sure you’re thinking the last name of this gentleman sounds familiar and that’s because you’ve probably heard of a Coggins test before! Let’s take a minute and unpack this for those who don’t know what I’m talking about. A Coggins test is a blood test used to identify the presence of antibodies for equine infectious anemia (EIA), a potentially fatal disease with no current treatment available. Negative Coggins test results are often required for any horses traveling interstate and/or going to sale barns. This makes the test something that is frequently used and referred to in the horse world. And, you guessed right, Dr. Leroy Coggins was the virologist who created it!

Leroy was originally from North Carolina but earned his veterinary degree from Oklahoma State University in 1957 and after that, he completed his Ph.D. in 1962. Dr. Leroy Coggins was in Kenya in the mid-1960s for a five-year USDA project when he helped develop a new diagnostic test for African swine fever. Coggins applied the insight he gained in developing the diagnostic test for African swine fever and created a method that quickly and effectively checks for EIA antibodies in the horse’s blood. By studying viruses that cause diarrhea he subsequently developed the EIA test that many horse owners use today.

Who Was Dr. Leroy Coggins?

His Coggins test was approved in 1973 and has been widely used ever since. By Leroy developing this test, he is the one to thank for saving thousands of equine lives. Since EIA is spread by flies and insects it’s really difficult to tell when a horse has contaminated it making early detection vital to controlling the spread of the virus.

Unfortunately, Dr. Leroy Coggins passed away at age 81 in 2013, but not without leaving the horse community something to remember him by. If you have ever had a Coggins test given to your horse you know how impactful the results can be, oftentimes lifesaving!

Thank you, Dr. Leroy Coggins, for your dedication to virology and your brilliance surrounding the Coggins test.

Who Was Dr. Leroy Coggins?

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Emily Griffin

Emily Griffin is a mama to three stunning daughters, a wife to her hunky husband, an experienced equestrian, and an Arizona native. She is also a certified doula and owner and founder of Unbridled Mama Doula Services. She resides in a very small town in Southeastern, Arizona. Her days consist of raising children, everything equine, reading/ writing, and balancing the fine line between motherhood and insanity. She appreciates nature, the smell of a satisfying rain, and the lovely sunsets the Arizona deserts have to offer. Her life is unbridled in every sense of the word and she wouldn't have it any other way! Follow her on Instagram at @unbridledmama.