Horse owners and yard managers have been advised to take their horses’ passports with them when buying wormers and other medicines.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has issued a guidance update stating that prescribers should ask to see passports before they supply the products.
But although owners have been advised they may be asked to show the document, not having it does not mean they cannot be sold the medicine.
Stephen Dawson of the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) said: “It’s important to note that while we are encouraging owners to bring their passports along, not bringing them doesn’t prevent the horse being wormed or benefiting from other medicines.
“It just means that if the vet, pharmacist or AMTRA SQP [suitably qualified person] prescribing and supplying medicines has not recently seen the horse’s passport and been able to confirm personally that it has been signed out of the food chain, they have to act accordingly.
“As the horse is a food-producing species under EU law, then without the passport it must be assumed the horse may enter the food chain, and the wormer or other medicine chosen accordingly.”
Mr Dawson added that some medicines cannot be supplied without sight of a passport as they are only suitable for horses who have been signed out of the food chain.
“But most horse medicines are okay to prescribe in either case, so it’s just a question of the range to choose from being a bit smaller,” he added.
An AMTRA spokesman added that AMTRA SQPs have a legal requirement to ascertain the status of any animal before they prescribe or supply medicines.
“The update is simply reinforcing this existing requirement,” he said. “The current status of the horse is determined by checking the declaration in the passport. While the owner will be able to advise the medicines prescriber of the horse’s status, the updated guidance clarifies that AMTRA SQPs should only rely on the passport’s declaration when they have seen it personally.
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“Where livery yards buy in bulk on behalf of owners, presenting multiple passports is not likely to be practical, so prescribers will again choose from medicines which can be safely and legally given to horses that might enter the food chain.”
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