The following provides an explanation of what action is being taken in relation to recent outbreak of equine influenza (EI). All fixtures are working hard to make it as painless as possible for everyone, and you are all asked to show patience and assist in every way if asked. At the end of the explanation is a list of Frequently asked Questions and their answers for your interest.
The New BHA Requirements to combat EI are:
- Vaccination. BHA has ordered that no declarations will be accepted from horses that have not been vaccinated in the previous six months. This requirement will be in place until further notice. Please note that the normal stipulation that the vaccination must not have been given on the day of racing or any of the six days prior to the day of the race as according to Regulation 36 (ii), still applies.
- Declaration of Health. BHA has ordered that on arrival at the racecourse, the responsible person (Owner, Keeper or Authorised to Act) must provide the following for all equines on board before the ramp can be lowered:
- The horse’s passport with proof of vaccination and date
- Confirmation that they have taken the horse’s temperature that morning and provision of that temperature
- A signed Health Declaration form – new version as of 21 Feb 19 (see link)
This is the Owner’s responsibility. He does not require a vet to carry out the health checks before making the Declaration
The Fixture will have a fool proof system in place to ensure that this is enforced rigorously. NB it is recognised that all courses are slightly different in layout and will take different approaches accordingly.
This will apply to all equines including companion horses/ponies, pony racing, Hunt horses and horse catchers, and any other activity programmed. Fixtures running events/races which are not under BHA auspices (Charity races etc) must still comply with the above
Penalties for failure to comply are currently under discussion, although Regulation 38 already lays down the fines for failure to provide accurate Vaccination requirements
Procedures for Fixtures
- There are numerous ways to carry out the procedures, and there is no right or wrong solution
- System should be easily understandable by all so someone can stand in at short notice
- Numbers required will depend on how great the number of horses and boxes which come.
The Owner/Keeper must ensure that the following is done in line with BHA Directive (attached):
- The Vaccination dates in passport comply with new requirements
- It is 6 calendar months inclusive to the day. EG if vaccination was on 23 Aug you can run on 23 Feb.
- As before the vaccination cannot have been during the 6 days previous to racing. In other words if you want to run on a Saturday you cannot have had an injection after the previous Saturday
- The Health Declaration Form is properly filled in including Horse’s temperature taken that day and signature of owner/keeper/authorised to act.
- Fully comply with the systems put in place by the fixture to comply with the BHA requirement
The Owner/Keeper should ensure that the following is done:
- All lorries should be washed out and, ideally, disinfected between all journeys
- Allow sufficient journey and arrival lead times to assist in facilitating the BHA Arrival checks
- Everyone involved with the horses should change into in clean clothing to attend each meeting in order to minimise risk of contamination etc
Frequently Asked Questions
- What extra staff needed? Up to Fixture, and obviously dependent on number of horses, but evidence seems to indicate that you will need at least:
- One extra vet depending on numbers of horses
- One extra Declarations Clerk possibly two depending on number of horses
- A runner depending on how procedures set up
- Someone to keep close control of water usage in winning enclosure
- Further biosecurity Requirements? Whilst there are no further biosecurity measures to put in place by Fixtures, the BHA Chief Veterinary Officer is keen that common sense prevails and everyone puts in effort. In particular he highlighted:
- Boxes being washed between trips when shared.
- Those involved with horses wear clean clothing to pointing
I think it makes sense to emphasise this in your letters to the owners and trainers.
- Horse’s Temperature? It should not be above 38.5 degrees.
- Vaccination Date Definition. It is 6 calendar months inclusive to the day. EG if vaccination was on 16 Aug you can run on 16 Feb.
- Who Can do the Checks? BHA have put out new directive on vaccination checks, which directs that these are to be carried out by a designated Declarations Clerk. A vet must be in the vicinity to answer any queries as they arise. The responsible person must state date last vaccinated and that will be noted on the Health Declaration form by the Declarations Clerk, who is based at the designated spot, not necessarily at the Declarations Tent.
- What to do with Health Declaration Forms? All Health Declarations Forms must be posted in one bunch to the BHA Office after racing, stating at which point to point they were collected, as at bottom of BHA Directive.
- How long will this go on? These measures are being reviewed by the BHA on an ongoing basis. However, it is probably sensible for all fixtures to plan to use them for this season.
- Horsebox? All horses within a box must comply. If one does not, the box gets turned away.
- Companion Horses/Ponies? Companion horses must fully comply, which means, if they have not been vaccinated before, they will need two injections, the last of which must have been within six months.
- Water and drinking buckets in paddock? Water for cooling down and drinking buckets should be kept separate in the paddock/winning enclosure, box park etc. This includes drinking buckets not being dipped in troughs, and of course they should be disinfected between races.
- Horse Ambulances? Racecourses have not been asked to carry out any different procedures than normal but regular disinfecting is important
- Scanning horses? There is no need to scan horses.