AAEP develops veterinary guidelines for the care of racehorses

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The American Association of Equine Practitioners has released guidelines for veterinarians who treat racehorses.

The "Clinical Guidelines for Veterinarians Practicing in a Pari-Mutuel Environment" emphasize that the entry date for a horse's next race should not be the primary factor when evaluating the need for medication. The AAEP guidelines state that the basis of medical treatment should be a veterinary diagnosis, with a sufficient interval to evaluate the response to treatment prior to racing.

The first section of the guidelines provides recommendations on appropriate timing and usage of medication. The next section addresses adjunct treatments such as shock wave and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Other sections cover documentation of veterinary procedures, control of infectious diseases, assessment of horses for alternative careers after racing, inventory of veterinarians' vehicles, and drug compounding.

The document recommends that veterinarians who treat racehorses base their fees on the value of their professional services in addition to the costs of administering and dispensing medications.

The AAEP Racing Committee, formerly the AAEP Racing Task Force, developed the clinical guidelines. The committee members consist of private racetrack practitioners, regulatory veterinarians, and veterinary specialists. The committee previously released white papers with recommendations to improve horse safety and welfare in the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Standardbred racing industries.

All the documents are available at www.aaep.org/white_papers.htm.

Coming in February:

Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of the AAEP 56th Annual Convention, held Dec. 4-8 in Baltimore.