In order for horses to compete in FEI events, they must be free from Prohibited Substances. There are a number of effective ways to minimise and mitigate the possibility of contamination that could lead to a positive Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication (EADCM) test result.
The FEI has produced the following guidance and best practices to follow to reduce the risks of contamination.
1. Store medication carefully
Ensure medication is marked with the name of the horse that it is intended for. Medication packaging must be sealed shut to prevent accidental spillage whilst in storage and kept in a locked cupboard.
2. Take care when opening medication packaging
Open medication packages with care as spillages may occur. Powdered medication can produce clouds of powder, so mix the powder with small amounts of wet feed to reduce the risk of contamination. Gel, paste or liquid formulations, if available, are recommended. Always add and mix the medication into the feed of the treated horse in a separate area away from feed preparation for other horses.
3. Use separate feed bucket for administering in-feed medication
Despite thorough washing, traces of medication may remain in feed buckets. It is therefore strongly advised that separate feed buckets that are clearly labelled for this use are used to give horses in-feed medication. Feed stirrers that may be used to mix medication with feed must also be kept separately and clearly labelled for this use only.
4. Dedicate one person to medication administration
This helps to reduce the risk of a horse receiving a double dose of medication which could lead to the medication remaining in the horse’s body for prolonged periods of time and therefore result in a positive.
5. Medicate the horse in a location that can be easily cleaned
It may be difficult to clean stables thoroughly, particularly when using medication in powder or paste formulations. It may be necessary to medicate horses in alternative locations such as washing off areas.
6. Use disposable bandage materials
Following the application of topical medication, some instances may require the treated area to be bandaged. It is strongly advised that disposable bandages are used for this purpose and that they are disposed of safely immediately after removal.
7. Wear Gloves
Always wear gloves when giving horses topical medication e.g. cream and ointments, and certain types of oral medication e.g. sedative gels and anti-inflammatory pastes.
8. Wash your hands
Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling human or veterinary medication (including tablets and liquids) and before working with your own or any other horse, even if you were wearing gloves. Other hand sanitising methods which are used for biosecurity purposes will not remove medication residue effectively. Hand washing is best.
9. Dispose of empty medication packaging and unused medication correctly
Empty bottles or pots of medication must be correctly disposed of and not re-used. Residues of medication will remain in the bottle despite attempts at thorough cleaning. Unused medication must be disposed of properly and your veterinarian will be able to advise you accordingly.