Horse medicines and horse passports (VMGN 16)

Veterinary medicines guidance note for vets and horse owners and keepers, about the administration and record keeping of horse medicines.

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Guidance on Horse Medicines and Horse Passports

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This guidance details the requirements for vets and horse owners/keepers regarding administration of medicines to horses. It also provides guidance on record keeping as set out in the legislation for medicinal products used to treat food-producing and non-food-producing horses.

Horses, including ponies and donkeys are considered by law to be a food producing species in the EU. Horses can be declared as either intended for human consumption (food-producing horse) or not intended for human consumption (non-food-producing horse) in the horse passport. This declaration determines what products can be administered to the animal.

Horse passports

All horses and ponies are required to have a passport identifying the animal. All horses born after July 2009 must be microchipped. See more information on the Defra Horse Passport Regulations.

Medicines for horses

All horses should be treated with veterinary medicines which have a UK marketing authorisation (MA) for use in horses as the first choice. However, if there is no suitable authorised product available, vets may prescribe a medicine under the cascade for use in animals under their care.

For information on the prescribing cascade see VMGN 13.

Record keeping requirements

All vaccinations and any substance on the EU Essential Substances List must be recorded in the horse passport if administered to a food-producing horse.

There is no requirement to record any other medicines in the non-food horse’s passport, however, vets have record-keeping obligations for all prescription medicines under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR).

In addition to the Horse Passport Regulations, there are other record-keeping obligations within the VMR that apply to keepers of horses intended for human consumption and to vets, pharmacists and suitably qualified persons (SQPs) supplying medicines for horses.

It is not a legal requirement for the record to be kept in the medicines pages of the horse passport but it is acceptable if preferred by the owner or keeper. Alternatively, a separate written record must be kept.

Medicines records must be kept for 5 years even if the animal has been sold or slaughtered during that time.

Published 31 March 2014