RV Changes Policy For Internationals

Nic Ashman Nic Ashman

Racing Victoria has announced international horses contesting the 2022 Melbourne Spring carnival will no longer be required to undertake a mandatory pre-flight scintigraphy.

Instead there will be increased vet checks including CT scans for horses specifically engaged in the Melbourne Cup while Victorian vets will be flown overseas for a pre-travel inspection.

RV shocked the public in 2021 by announcing mandatory scintigraphy scans as part of any international horse’s routine when travelling down under.

“Upon recommendation of the international working group, the RV Board has also endorsed the use of scintigraphy scans in a targeted manner from 2022 onwards for international horses entering Victoria via the Werribee International Horse Centre, as opposed to a blanket order,” an RV release said on Wednesday.

“The RV veterinary team will focus the use of scintigraphy scans on international horses where their mandatory CT or MRI scans; veterinary history; racing history; and/or pre-travel inspections indicate that the horse may be at a heightened risk of sustaining a serious injury.”
The following recommendations were put to the RV Board and were subsequently fully endorsed.

• All international horses must undergo a Computed Tomography (CT) scan of their distal limbs, or where CT is not available Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of their distal limbs, prior to travelling to Australia;

• Following their arrival in Australia, all international horses must undergo a CT scan prior to each start during the Spring Racing Carnival;
• All horses – international and local – must undergo a CT scan of their distal limbs before being permitted to compete in the Melbourne Cup. This scan must again be conducted after the Caulfield Cup race meeting;

• A panel of RV-appointed international experts in equine surgery and/or veterinary diagnostic imaging will again review all scans and help determine a horse’s suitability to travel to Victoria via the Werribee International Horse Centre and/or race during the Spring Racing Carnival; and
• All Melbourne Cup starters will undergo two pre-race inspections by a panel of RV veterinarians, the first on the Thursday/Friday prior to the race and the second on the day prior (Monday).

There are also changes to international horses looking to partake in Victorian racing for the rest of the year:

• Any international horse that leaves an Australian quarantine facility after 1 August, being the commencement of the racing season, may have only one race start in Australia prior to competing in the Melbourne Cup of that season;

• Regardless of the time of year, any international horse that enters Australia via a non-RV quarantine centre, principally Canterbury Racecourse (NSW) and Mickleham (VIC), will require RV veterinary approval to start in a trial or race in Victoria within 10 weeks of departing post-arrival quarantine in Australia. The approval process will include a detailed veterinary report, two inspections by an RV-appointed veterinarian and a CT scan of the horse’s distal limbs. Should the results indicate that the horse is at heightened risk of a serious injury, the RV veterinary team may also request a scintigraphy scan. These inspections and scans may be conducted outside of Victoria; and

• The exploration of situating a second standing CT scanner within Victoria and the introduction of an Australian-first portable Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner subject to necessary approvals and operating agreements. If introduced, such technology would serve to expand the capabilities of RV’s year-round Subsidised Diagnostic Imaging Program for locally trained horses (colloquially known as ‘Medicare for Horses’), in addition to building further capability for future Spring Racing Carnivals.