Vets could face fines for treating competition equines outside treatment areas as part of changes in Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) regulations.
Any fatal illness or injury that occurs during an FEI event must be reported within 12 hours, while any fatal illnesses or injuries sustained after, or as a result of, an FEI event must be reported to the FEI veterinary department within 72 hours of the fatality occurring.
From this month, sanctions will also be in place for failing to produce a horse passport at an FEI event. If microchips do not match information held on the official database, vets could face a fine of 200 Swiss francs (£154), or a warning in the first instance.
Updates to microchipping regulations mean vets who wish to implant a new microchip into an FEI-registered horse, or record any changes regarding the horse’s identification by microchip, must complete a form available from the FEI website.
This must be sent to the national federation (NF) under which the horse is registered. Vets must also supply a list of substances administered during FEI events directly before death or euthanasia, including substances that were part of the process of euthanasia.
The list must then be submitted with the veterinary report of the death. Other key changes include the legal use of ciclosporin implants and ciclosporin topical ocular medication, which can now be used during competitions, but must be declared using the new version of Veterinary Form 2.
FEI also clarified its policy on supplements and vitamins, which are administered at the person responsible’s (PR) own risk. It is recommended a log book be kept, containing details of the product used, dose and batch number, as well as the date on which it was administered.
An FEI spokesman explained: “The main changes to equine anti-doping and controlled medication regulations (EADCMRs) were introduced to incorporate the approach of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Agency code, which came into effect on January 2015, where suitable. Within the EADCMRs, the FEI has clarified its policy on the use of supplements/vitamins and contaminated products.
“The use of supplements and vitamins is at the PR’s own risk. The rules include a provision whereby the PRs, who have been warned about the possibility of supplement contamination, are responsible for what their horses ingest, and it is a recommendation to enter all supplements in a log book.
“New measures in support of the Equine Anti-Doping Medication Control Programme have also been introduced. They include sanctions for treating a horse in an area other than the designated treatment box, as well as fines for failure to report a fatal illness or injury, failure to produce a horse’s passport at an FEI event and in the event of a microchip being found in a horse that does not match the information held on the FEI database.”
In addition, increased funding is available to cover the cost of postmortem examinations and associated transport costs.
British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) vice-president Mark Bowen welcomed changes in regulations, adding updates would help ensure compliance and injury surveillance.
He said: “The changes to the FEI regulations are quite minor in terms of the impact to practicing veterinary surgeons [however] the regulations largely impact on veterinary surgeons working at FEI competitions and they have done a great job of cascading that information already.
“My understanding is the requirement to only treat animals in the designated treatment box is not new – the ability to sanction vets is. This is a minor point, but helps to ensure compliance.
“The reporting of fatalities resulting from a competition is a welcome part of injury surveillance, which is a vital way to improve welfare of horses in competitions. However, the regulations state the PR for the horse, not the veterinary surgeon, is responsible for reporting fatalities to the NF.
“Any fines would be levied against the owner. Given the distress usually associated with such fatalities, we have a moral duty as veterinary surgeons to remind owners and sometimes assist with that reporting – the last thing a distressed owner needs is a fine on top of the loss of his or her horse.
“The FEI has increased its level of support for payment for postmortem examinations to €650 (£503) – this is helpful, but is unlikely to cover the costs of transport and commercial postmortem charges completely.”
The unamended article originally appeared in Veterinary Times Vol. 45 No. 4
To read the FEI regulations in full, visit http://fei.org/fei/regulations/veterinary