By Jessica Martini
The Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association, in acknowledgment of the increased use of video endoscopy on sales grounds in the United States, has announced its endorsement of the American Association of Equine Practitioners “Protocol for Pre-Sale Video Endoscopic Examination of the Upper Airway at Public Auction” as a way to help create uniformity and increase buyer confidence in the procedure.
“I really don't think there is a huge disparity in the way that people have been video-scoping, but there certainly have been a few small differences,” said CBA President Gray Lyster. “It's really important that we all get on the same page on the best way to do this. It's going to be valuable that we can stand together and say all these videos follow the same guidelines. It is fine-tuning what is being done now and setting some parameters.”
The video scope, which is standard procedure at Australian sales, has steadily gained in popularity as a way to avoid horses being scoped multiple times by multiple vets prior to auction.
“As a consignor, when you're watching your horse being scoped for maybe the 10th, 11th or 12th time, you can start to debate the animal welfare aspect of it,” Lyster said. “It's too often and we need to find a way to try to at least begin to embrace these videos. A lot of places around the world have already implemented and had some success with videos.
“As a seller, what's really important to me is buyer confidence and if I am replacing their individual vet scoping a horse with my video, I want their feedback and I want to do it in the best way I can and to have it presented the best way we can. What we're hoping to do in 2019 is really ease into it.”
Endorsing a uniform policy is one way to move the process forward and among the guidelines is a narrower window of time for the test to be done before a sale.
“When we scope with grades that we are using in our vet reports, the horses are usually scoped when the X-rays are taken,” Lyster said. “And that can be anywhere in that 21-day window [before the sale]. But what we are saying to our membership is, if you're doing a video scope, you need to be within a 10-day window.”
Lyster said the CBA had found almost unanimous support for the endorsement of the protocol, although he doesn't expect video scopes to completely replace individual vets scoping horses.
“There are going to be more and more videos on the grounds this year than ever,” Lyster said. “But this isn't an area where the CBA is hoping that people will stop allowing their horses to be scoped and only provide videos. We're actually suggesting to our membership that they still fully allow all the scoping of their horses that they have in the past. Just because we are providing videos does not mean that we're trying to shut people out from scoping our horses in 2019. We're really hopeful, actually, that people will watch videos and scope our horses and try to learn something from it. I think you'll find a lot of buyers out there who are wondering the same thing–why haven't we done this yet?”