We are very happy to welcome you to the veterinarian hub of the FEI website. Within the following pages, you will find useful information and advice on specific issues relevant to your role as a Veterinarian working at an FEI event either in a treating or official capacity.
We would like to remind you that it is the paramount responsibility of all those involved in equestrian sport to ensure a high health and welfare status of the horses they are in charge of. To this end, the FEI Equine Welfare Code of Conduct must be complied with at all times. As Veterinary health professionals supporting equestrianism throughout the world, you play an essential role in protecting the welfare of all competing horses. You are also responsible for implementing the FEI Veterinary Regulations and ensuring fair play. You are, moreover, expected to be familiar with the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations and the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List, which can be found on the FEI Clean Sport website.
We are currently experiencing what is probably the most serious EHV-1 outbreak in Europe for decades and, while the Spanish Veterinary Authorities are in charge onsite in Valencia, the FEI Veterinary Department is driving coordination of both the onsite and wider measures in direct cooperation with the Spanish National Federation. The situation is difficult but is under control.
As many of you will have seen on social media and other online media platforms, there are some very distressing images and footage of extremely sick horses in Valencia. Tragically four horses have now died over the weekend, 84 on-venue horses are showing clinical signs and are being treated, and a further 11 horses are being treated in external clinics (nine in Valencia and two in Barcelona).
The treatment of horses on venue has been vastly improved with additional veterinary support and medical supplies, with a total of 21 veterinarians now onsite.
Over the weekend, the FEI ordered extra stabling so that healthy/recovered horses can be better separated from the sick horses on venue to prevent further transmission. A total of 44 temporary stables, which are being transported from the South of France, are due to arrive onsite today and 22 boxes will also be supplied to the Valencia Equine Hospital in order to free up emergency treatment permanent stables.
Additionally, the French National Federation and the FEI have coordinated a supply of inflatable support mats to assist recumbent horses to stand. Rescue nets and emergency slings are being sourced from Switzerland. The French and German National Federations are also supplying extra veterinarians.
A member of the FEI Veterinary Department is onsite in Valencia and establishing improved lines of communication between the authorities, the Valencia Organisers and athletes.
As this strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and there are now confirmed related outbreaks in France, Belgium and Germany, we remain concerned that several sick and in-contact horses left the venue before it was closed for departures and that they may spread the disease.
Although the FEI has blocked all these horses in the FEI Database until the required testing protocols have been fulfilled, the FEI has again directly contacted National Federations with horses that participated in Valencia requesting confirmation that they have contacted all their athletes that were in Valencia, that their national veterinary authorities have been informed about the outbreak and the returning horses, and that the necessary isolation of returning horses and in-contact horses has been put in place and compliance is being controlled.
The FEI is also collating further information about related outbreaks and the measures put in place at local level to handle an outbreak.
The Veterinary Department, supported by leading epidemiologists, is undertaking a constant risk assessment in order to take and advise on correct preventive measures.
While the priority remains the current outbreak and minimising the risk of further transmission, the FEI will be using data gathered from this outbreak to evaluate the effectiveness of the EHV-1 vaccine, seeing which horses in the total group of 752 that participated in Valencia have been vaccinated, which had symptoms or were asymptomatic, and which horses have died.
The FEI will continue to work closely with the affected National Federations and update the wider community as soon as new information becomes available.
At this critical time, we are grateful for the way our community continues to come together to deal with this outbreak. This is a true example of solidarity among our National Federations in Europe working together with the FEI. And we owe a special vote of gratitude to the Spanish, French and German Federations for all their incredible support in this time of need. Thank you!
As an update to the communique we sent on Monday about the Equine Herpes Virus outbreak (EHV-1 – neurological form) in Valencia (ESP), the FEI Veterinary Department is working with all parties involved to provide support to those impacted and to minimise the spread of the virus.
We have been advised that there are currently over 150 horses still on the venue. A total of 72 horses are showing clinical signs of EHV-1. Of the 47 horses that have been tested, 17 are now confirmed as having the virus.
Of that number, we are informed that three horses have been transferred to the veterinary hospital with neurological symptoms, but one of these is said to be recovering well and is expected to return to the venue shortly. We are receiving information that there may be additional numbers of horses displaying neurological signs, but do not have any confirmation of that at this point.
In addition, there are four confirmed cases of horses that left the venue on 14 February and became sick shortly after returning to their home country, plus two possible further outbreaks in a third country that can be traced back to Valencia.
The FEI is liaising directly with the Spanish National Federation, which is working closely with the competent veterinary authority in the Valencia region, Sanidad e Higiene Animal y Trazabilidad. This authority has sealed off the Valencia venue and declared it an isolation unit.
In order to help alleviate the very difficult situation for athletes, owners and grooms with horses still on the venue in Valencia, the FEI has requested – and received – agreement from the regional veterinary authorities to allow five additional veterinarians onsite to treat the affected horses. The FEI is currently organising to get these five veterinarians onsite, as well as additional medical supplies that will be delivered to the venue.
We have also requested a detailed plan from the regional veterinary authorities on the treatment of sick horses, management of the outbreak, and the plan for getting healthy horses off the venue. We have just received the protocol this afternoon and we are following up directly with them on this.
As we advised you previously, in accordance with the FEI Veterinary Regulations, Article 1029.7, a total of 752 horses that have attended Valencia since 1 February 2021 have been blocked in the FEI Database and are not be permitted to enter any FEI Events until they have fulfilled the necessary testing requirements.
In addition, as we informed you at the beginning of the week, we have directly contacted the National Federations with athletes and horses that have participated at Valencia since 1 February 2021, and will be updating those with horse onsite today. We have also instructed the Organisers of the other Tours on the Iberian Peninsula that they must not accept any horses that have been competing in Valencia.
In order to keep the community informed, we will send further updates as soon as any new information is available.
The FEI Veterinary Department has been advised of an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) at the CES Valencia Spring Tour (ESP). It is likely that the disease has been transferred to horses that have attended the venue since at least 1 February 2021.
In accordance with the FEI Veterinary Regulations, Article 1029.7, horses that have attended Valencia since 1 February 2021 are blocked in the FEI Database and will not be permitted to enter any FEI Events until they have fulfilled the necessary testing requirements.
Any horse travelling with a fever is not only a potential carrier and therefore likely to spread the virus to all other horses in the transport, but is at increased risk of developing shipping fever or the more serious neurological form of EHV. It is also a violation of EU transport legislation to travel with a sick horse, except for transport to veterinary facilities. Only symptom-free horses should travel and horses leaving Valencia must have their temperature taken prior to travel.
We have informed the Organisers of the other Tours on the Iberian Peninsula of the situation and instructed them that they must not accept any horses that have been competing at Valencia.
Competition in Valencia will only resume once the venue has been declared clear of EHV.
All NFs with athletes and horses that have participated at Valencia since 1 February 2021 will shortly receive a separate communique outlining the measures that have already been taken and the measures that they personally need to take to help prevent the further spread of this virus.
An updated (February 2021) EHV factsheet is available here.
Equine Coronavirus, or ECoV, is nothing new, it was first detected in the United States of America in 1999. ECoV is not linked to Covid-19 and cannot be transmitted to humans.
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, there is an understandable concern associated with the term Coronavirus, but there are a large number of these viruses, and the vast majority only result in mild symptoms. One of the most prevalent Coronaviruses in humans is the common cold.
The equine variety, ECoV, which generally causes mild gastrointestinal issues, is endemic in a number of countries, including Japan. It is also present in the United States of America, parts of Europe and the Middle East.
As the FEI has just been advised by the Japan Racing Association (JRA) of an outbreak of ECoV last year at the Tokyo Racecourse – which is not an Olympic or Paralympic venue – we have created an informative factsheet (see attached) about ECoV. This is also published on the Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games hub.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the FEI Veterinary Department.
Please find attached updates about:
Competency-based Evaluation System
Veterinary Courses and Registration
Education System and Applications for Promotion
EADCM Sampling Forms
Social Media Guidelines
The FEI would like to warn the equestrian community that some batches of Marstall feed containing apple pomace were contaminated with caffeine, a Controlled Medication and Specified Substance on the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List.
Bernhard Kreiling GmbH, the manufacturer of Marstall, identified apple pomace, an ingredient in the feed, to be the source of contamination. Measures have been taken by Bernhard Kreiling GmbH to prevent further contamination with caffeine and other substances derived from caffeine. Feed produced since 14 July 2020, i.e. batch numbers 219301, 219302, 219303 and 219304 onwards, should be unaffected. The FEI recommends that anyone using this feedstuff should carefully check the batch numbers and contact the manufacturers if they have any concerns.
The FEI recommends that samples are kept from batches of feed and supplements given to competition horses to enable a thorough investigation to be carried out should contamination be suspected.
Under the FEI Regulations, from 1 January 2021 it will be possible for horses to be tested for caffeine under the Elective Testing scheme. Since caffeine is listed as a Specified Substance, from 1 January 2021 any finding will be treated as an Atypical Finding.
Further information concerning contamination prevention can be found here.
In follow-up to our communique of 7 October 2020 (see below), the British Horseracing Authority has been made aware that the products of several other equine feed companies, besides GAIN Equine Nutrition, may also have been affected by the shipment of contaminated molasses suspected of containing the banned substance Zilpaterol.
We understand that the companies in question are contacting customers directly to advise on the batches that may have been affected and to replace the contaminated feed.
Anyone contacted by their supplier should follow their advice and, if required, stop feeding any potentially affected product immediately. They should also ensure that all feed equipment (bowls, scoops, bins etc.) that may have contained any contaminated product is cleaned thoroughly with detergent and plenty of water.
In line with our previous advice, it is strongly advised that horses that may have inadvertently ingested Zilpaterol are withdrawn from competition.
Further information on contamination prevention can be found here.
The FEI would like to inform the equestrian community about a feedstuff contamination with Zilpaterol, a Banned Substance on the Equine Prohibited Substances List, following an alert from feed producer GAIN Equine Nutrition advising its equine customers to refrain from feeding their current stock of GAIN Equine products.
On 2 October 2020, the French horse racing authority France Galop announced that five horses had tested positive to Zilpaterol. The substance appears to have derived from the ingestion of contaminated feed.
Zilpaterol is a beta-agonist drug used as a feed additive to increase muscle mass in beef cattle. It can also improve lung function. A number of countries prohibit its use in food producing animals.
The FEI recommends that samples are kept of batches of feed and supplements given to competition horses to enable a thorough investigation to take place should the horse test positive for Zilpaterol.
Under the FEI Regulations, it is not possible for horses to be tested for Zilpaterol under the Elective Testing scheme as it is a Banned Substance.
It is strongly advised that horses that may have inadvertently ingested Zilpaterol are withdrawn from competition.
Further information on contamination prevention can be found here.
The latest updates from GAIN on this issue are available here.
Please find attached updates about:
Please find attached updates about: