In 2011 and 2012 there were significant changes to the equine pre-purchase examination certificate and the newly updated insurance examination certificate (see link below) comes in line with those changes. The principal simplifying change is that there is now only one certificate for reporting all insurance examinations and an insurer should simply specify whether they require a two-stage or five-stage examination.

The previous insurance certificates only required a veterinary surgeon to report any clinical history that had occurred in the preceding twelve months but this lead to conflict of interest where the examining veterinary surgeon knew of other significant clinical history but avoided passing that information to the insurance company. The updated certificate records all clinical history under the current ownership and this is in line with the requirements of most equine insurance policies.

Experienced equine vets will be surprised to see mention of a blood sample on the certificate but it is believed this is a useful addition as it places the onus on the insurance company to request a blood sample if they require one and points out the limitations of an examination when it is not taken.

The new certificate is a two-page document because of the necessary increase in information. The certificate number can be recorded on both pages in order to link them together and the number of additional pages of clinical history is also recorded. If veterinary surgeons wish to produce a one-page document then the pages can be printed or laminated back-to-back.

One of the most important issues is using the correct certificate for the examination that is being carried out. If an examination is performed simultaneously for purchase and insurance then only a pre-purchase examination certificate should be used; never be tempted to issue a separate insurance certificate. Likewise, the insurance certificate should never be produced with the intention of reporting any other forms of examination, particularly for a seller to show a potential purchaser.

Certificates are available as carbon-copy pads from the VDS (with a pink cover to distinguish them from PPE pads) and as a downloadable PDF - click here for a specimen copy (BEVA members only can download blank copies of the certificate by logging in to the members area of the website and visiting the practice portfolio page).

Malcolm Morley