Therapeutic Medications in Racehorses

Comment on this policy

The AVMA endorses the American Association of Equine Practitioners' policy on therapeutic medications in racehorses, which reads as follows:

"The AAEP policy on medication in pari-mutuel racing is driven by our mission to improve the health and welfare of the horse. The AAEP policy is aimed at providing the best health care possible for the racehorses competing while ensuring the integrity of the sport. The AAEP expects its members to abide by the rules of all jurisdictions where they practice. The AAEP condemns the administration of non-therapeutic or unprescribed medications to racehorses by anyone. The AAEP believes that all therapeutic medication should be administered to racehorses by or under the direction of a licensed veterinarian. Health care decisions on individual horses should involve the veterinarian, the trainer and owner with the best interests of the horse as the primary objective. The AAEP strongly encourages continued research in determining the therapeutic levels and appropriate withdrawal times that represent responsible use of medication in the racehorse. The AAEP is aware of the dynamics of the development of new products, as well as the continuing evaluation of current medications, and will continue to evaluate its policy based upon available scientific research and the best interests of the horse.

In order to provide the best health care possible for the racehorse, veterinarians should utilize the most modern diagnostic and therapeutic modalities available in accordance with medication guidelines designed to ensure the integrity of the sport. To this end, the following are the essential elements of AAEP policy concerning veterinary care of the racehorse:

  • All racing jurisdictions should adopt the uniform medication guidelines set forth by the Racing and Medication Testing Consortium Inc. (RMTC). Including the RMTC testing procedures with strict quality controls and penalty schedules, these guidelines and procedures strive to protect the integrity of racing as well as the health and well-being of the horse.
  • Race day medication must be in accordance with current RMTC guidelines. In the absence of a more effective treatment/preventative for exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), the AAEP supports the use of furosemide as a day-of-the-race medication to control EIPH. The AAEP advocates the research and development of new treatments to help prevent and/or control EIPH.
  • The AAEP encourages proactive and constructive communication between regulatory bodies and practicing veterinarians and other industry stakeholders.
  • The AAEP believes that all veterinarians should use judicious, prudent and ethical decisions in all treatments to ensure the health and welfare of the horse.
  • The AAEP strongly endorses increased surveillance and enforcement of the above-mentioned regulations."

For more information regarding RMTC guidelines, please visit www.rmtcnet.com.