The United States of America has withdrawn its full team of horses from the FEI Endurance World Championship in Pisa (ITA) after one of its horses, stabled offsite, developed a fever.
The USA Team Veterinarian informed the President of the Veterinary Treatment Commission in Pisa on Thursday 20 May that they had a febrile horse. Subsequently, results from a blood test indicated a viral infection. The USA team immediately put in place additional biosecurity measures to prevent any possible transmission of disease.
Following consultation with the FEI and the President of the Veterinary Commission, the USA decided today to proactively withdraw the entire team, as their horses had all travelled and been stabled together over the past two weeks.
The horses, which arrived in Pisa several days ago, have been stabled 2kms outside the venue. A risk assessment conducted by the FEI Veterinary Department and the Veterinary Commission established that there was a negligible risk of transmission to any other horses taking part in the World Championship. The USA Athletes and team staff discussed the protocol measures directly with the FEI Veterinary Director as part of the decision making process.
“I commend the USA Team veterinarian, the USA Chef d’Equipe and the Athletes for their professionalism and proactivity in addressing this difficult situation, which resulted in the USEF decision to withdraw the team from the Endurance World Championship”, said FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström.
“This is a really unfortunate situation for the U.S. Team and I understand their bitter disappointment, but this decision was necessary and is completely in line with the biosecurity measures and rules we have in place to avoid the spread of infectious disease.
“The welfare of our horses must be put above any sporting goals and ambitions, and today the USA Team have done just that. It’s the right thing to do - and the only thing to do - for the safety of all the horses competing at the Event. We will continue to monitor all the participating horses closely to ensure a biosecure and successful championship for all the participating nations and athletes.”
The five USA Athlete/Horse combinations withdrawn from the Championship are:
A total of 31 nations will line up for the start of the FEI Endurance World Championship on Saturday 22 May, 12 of which will be battling for the team medals.