Risk Mitigation Strategies for High-Performance Horses

The OIE has described management “pillars” to keep most diseases at bay for high-health, high-performance horses.
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The HHP horse is the international competitor, traveling from country to country several times a year for high-level FEI events or graded races. | Photo: Jon Stroud/FEI
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) distinguishes diseases of different risk factors in its guidelines for high-health, high-performance (HHP) horse management. These measures not only safeguard the HHP horse health but also that of the millions of horses living in host countries and the horses’ home countries, as well.

The HHP horse is the international competitor, traveling from country to country several times a year for high-level Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) events or graded races. In cooperation with the FEI and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), the OIE developed the HHP concept in 2014.

The OIE has now described regular management “pillars” that keep most equine diseases at bay for HHP horses. But it has also specified six diseases that, due to their risk of spreading, require specific testing and/or vaccination before entering a country, even in the highest-level horses. African horse sickness, equine influenza, equine infectious anemia, equine piroplasmosis, glanders, and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis can all spread to other horses (and, in some cases, other species) even if caretakers follow stringent management practices, the OIE said.

The OIE has now defined “harmonized HHP requirements” for those six diseases with the “model HHP veterinary certificate,” which simplifies processes and ensures the highest sanitary standards, said Monique Eloit, DVM, director general of the OIE

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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