Equine athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events in Greenwich Park will have the best possible veterinary care available to them at the on-site Veterinary Clinic, a temporary facility constructed specially for the London 2012 Games.
The state-of-the-art Clinic, built in the incredibly short timeframe of just three weeks, has been kitted out to the highest specifications and provides 24-hour veterinary care throughout both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Not only is specialist care available on-site, the Clinic staff also have access to a team of experts that can be called in if necessary, and there are also three specialist equine hospitals on call throughout the Games.
“We are very lucky in the UK to have the best of the best veterinary experts on tap”, Veterinary Services Manager Jenny Hall said. “We know the Olympic Veterinary Clinic facilities will be used a lot for routine supportive veterinary care. We hope they won't be used for any emergency first-aid, but if anything should happen, we are extremely well prepared to cope with anything that comes our way.”
The Veterinary Clinic’s diagnostic laboratory will provide clinical pathology services throughout both Games. Endoscopy, radiography and ultrasonography services are also available. Any team that does not have its own equine physiotherapist can take advantage of the physiotherapy treatments on offer at the Veterinary Clinic.
There are four supervised treatment boxes, which are overseen by the FEI Veterinary Commission to ensure full compliance with the FEI Veterinary Regulations. The Clinic also stocks a wide range of veterinary supplies.
“The equine athletes at Greenwich Park will have the best possible care if they should require treatment at any stage”, Jenny Hall said. “The FEI sets the standards for accommodation for the horses, health and welfare, care and management, with health checks, an initial examination and the horse inspections. We take it for granted, but no-one inspects the human athletes before their competition, no-one ensures their fitness to compete, but that is standard protocol for all equestrian events, and of course that includes the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
The Veterinary Services team also includes horse ambulance drivers, administrators and veterinary technicians. The team is also supported by equine ambulance trailers, plus a purpose-built motorised vehicle, one of only three such vehicles in the world.
“World Horse Welfare has worked closely with the FEI over the last 30 years and the horse welfare protocols that are in place at all FEI events are stringently monitored”, World Horse Welfare Chairman Barry Johnson said. “We are particularly impressed with the work that has been done by LOCOG and the FEI at Greenwich Park and are confident that the horses will get the highest possible level of care so that they can perform at their very best during the Games.”