Therapeutic medications in racehorses

The AVMA policy on medication in pari-mutuel racing is aimed at providing the best health care and welfare for racehorses while ensuring the integrity and safety of the sport. Health care decisions for individual horses are the responsibility of the veterinarian, trainer, and owner and must have the best interests of the horse as the primary objective. Treatment recommendations should reflect a thorough knowledge of the horse’s condition including physical examination findings and appropriate diagnostic testing.

In phasing out race-day administration of furosemide, it is incumbent upon all racetrack veterinarians to develop an evidence-based comprehensive medical and stable management plan to minimize the incidence and degree of Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH, commonly associated with high-speed exercise), consistent with the medication rules of the jurisdictions in which they practice. The AVMA strongly advocates for research and the development of new strategies including, but not limited to, training methods, nutritional management, genetics, and environmental modifications, to assist in improving respiratory health and mitigating the effects of EIPH in training and racing horses.

The AVMA also recommends continued research in determining guidelines for withdrawal intervals that allow for the responsible and ethical use of all medications in training and racing horses.

All racing jurisdictions must be in compliance with the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act and its Authority overseeing both the anti-doping/medication control program and racetrack safety program of the United States.