A drug that has been used for treating horses with life-threatening abdominal infections is no longer available after the new veterinary medicines regulations came into force yesterday (Sunday 30 October).

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), an extension of DEFRA, has drawn up the regulations — which are awaiting Parliament’s final approval — in response to an EU ruling.

The drug Metronidazole is marketed in the UK by the firm Pfizer as Metronex but, as foreshadowed by draft regulations, it will have to be withdrawn from the market.

Alistair Barr, former president of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), added: “This is illogical. There is no reason not to use this drug in horses not intended for human consumption.”

Vets can still prescribe the drug in its human form, but Barr added: “The human drug isn’t produced in a form intended for horses and isn’t tested for horses.”

  • Read the full story in the current issue of Horse & Hound (27 October, ’05)