Don’t forget your passport! – Horse owners advised they could be asked for the horse passport on supply of horse medicines

Horse owners and livery yards are being advised to bring their horse’s passport when purchasing animal medicines such as wormers. This follows a horse medicines guidance update from the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate) which says that prescribers should ask to see the passport.

Stephen Dawson, secretary general of AMTRA, the regulatory authority representing some 7,000 AMTRA SQPs, registered animal medicines advisors, was keen to point out, “It’s important to note that while we are encouraging owners to bring their passports along, not bringing the passport doesn’t prevent the horse being wormed or benefiting from other medicines.”

“It just means that if the vet, pharmacist or AMTRA SQP 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.

“Some medicines cannot be supplied without sight of the passport as they are only suitable for horses signed out of the food chain. However, 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.”

AMTRA SQPs have a legal requirement to ascertain the status of any animal before prescribing or supplying medicines. The new update is simply reinforcing this existing requirement. 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.

Where livery yards buy in bulk on behalf of owners, then 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.