Is my vet liable for doping?

Question: My horse has tested positive for doping at an international jumping competition. Later it turned out that it was a medicine that my horse got six weeks before this competition. My vet said I could compete again after four weeks, is my vet liable?

Answer Schelstraete:
To hold a veterinarian liable is not easy. This is evident from the jurisprudence of the FEI. It is declared that the rider of the horse is classified as ‘Responsible Person’. As the rider of a horse, you are finally responsible for what the horse is given. Whether this for example is done by bad luck, a mistake by a groom, a veterinarian, etc., the rider is responsible. When you start a procedure for the FEI Tribunal considering that you have relied on the advice of the vet this will not have much effect.

Compensation could possibly be claimed If there is clear evidence that the vet actually said that you could compete again within four weeks. But you will have to have this written down by the vet, otherwise the vet will certainly deny. Besides that, you will also need to prove that the drug always is traceable after six weeks in the blood or urine, or that this happened because of the specific circumstances. In addition, it should be established what damage was suffered by the wrong advice, with the earlier named issues, it makes it hard to discuss the liability of a veterinarian. It is therefore important as a rider, to delve into what is or is not allowed and what is the detection times for the given medicine.

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