The United States Equestrian Federation board of directors amended its therapeutic drug rule in late 2010 to restrict use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to a single drug.
Beginning Dec. 1, 2011, only one of the seven approved NSAIDs will be permitted in competition horses: diclofenac, firocoxib, flunixin, ketoprofen, meclofenamic, naproxen, or phenylbutazone.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners and the AVMA supported the rule change, and USEF now joins other organizations, including the American Quarter Horse Association and Equine Canada, in implementing it.
The board of directors made other rule revisions, including revised information on times for some of the therapeutic drugs used in competition horses to fall below detectable concentrations. Most notably, the detection time for the seven NSAIDs currently approved for use with quantitative restrictions has been reduced from seven days to three days when administered according to the dosage and withdrawal time recommendations found in the USEF's 2012 Guidelines for Drugs & Medications.
Further, USEF approved a rule provision, which came from a recommendation by its Veterinary Committee, that allows emergency administration of flunixin by a veterinarian to treat colic or an ophthalmic emergency. The drug would have to be administered by a licensed veterinarian following a physical examination, and a medication report form would have to be completed by the veterinarian.
Also effective Dec. 1, USEF has reclassified anabolic steroids as a forbidden substance. According to the new rule: "No anabolic steroid is to be administered to a horse or pony in the time before competition such that it, or any metabolite of it, might be present in the animal, or might be detectable in its blood or urine sample at the time of competition."
The USEF rules are available at www.usef.org, and the AVMA's policy on "AVMA Guidelines for Horse Show Veterinarians" is here.