AAEP continues work on plan for racing reform

kathy-andersonPosted: Nov. 29, 2016

The American Association of Equine Practitioners supports the implementation of the National Uniform Medication Program in all U.S. racing jurisdictions.

Lack of uniform medication rules presents significant challenges to owners and trainers who race horses in multiple jurisdictions, often leading to confusion about how to best implement appropriate therapeutic regimens. The AAEP fully supports the adoption of all components of NUMP.

The AAEP has had an active racing committee for decades and has produced three white papers detailing improvements in the sport for all racing breeds. It was an AAEP-sponsored racehorse medication summit held in 2001 that led to the formation of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, where we remain a founding member.

In 2015, the AAEP released the “Prescription for Racing Reform,” a 10-point plan for action. Its tenets are:

1. Continue its support of national uniform medication rules and penalties in all U.S. racing jurisdictions.

2. Recommend to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium the development of regulations banning the use of anabolic steroids in training. There are indications for the therapeutic use of systemic anabolic steroids in the racehorse based upon a medical diagnosis and treatment plan. However, the AAEP believes it is difficult to justify their use in racehorses that are actively training and racing.

3. Create national uniform procedures for veterinarian’s list reciprocity and management criteria.

4. Support clear uniform regulations for compounded medication.

5. Develop and implement a national uniform program for comprehensive out-of-competition testing. An effective out-of-competition testing program is imperative to deter the administration of performance-enhancing drugs that negatively impact horse health and the integrity of the sport.

6. Recommend to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium a 48-hour restricted administration time for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as part of uniform medication policy. In order for regulatory veterinarians to best detect horses at risk for injury when performing pre-race examinations, the AAEP supports a 48-hour withdrawal guideline for NSAIDs.

7. Support and advocate the development and implementation of effective security measures to enforce medication rules. Proper security not only deters nefarious actions detrimental to the integrity of racing and the welfare of the horse but also helps level the playing field for those who would not break the rules of racing.

8. Support meaningful medication rule violation sanctions for horses, veterinarians and other licensees, as appropriate.

9. Investigate alternative exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage management strategies with the intent to eliminate race-day medication within three to five years. The AAEP is pursuing alternative EIPH strategies, which began with facilitating a meeting of scientists including experts in the fields of equine EIPH, pulmonary function and human sports medicine with the stated goal of identifying research priorities which may yield effective alternatives to current EIPH treatment protocols. Since that initial meeting, we have partnered with Grayson-Jockey Club to fund any of these research projects that seem promising and are based on sound science.

10. Upon finding alternative methods to manage EIPH, the AAEP will propose that the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium amend its uniform medication policy to eliminate race-day medication in racing. If an alternative of equal or greater efficacy to furosemide can be found that will not require race-day administration, the AAEP will support the cessation.

In 1954, 11 racetrack veterinarians gathered in Louisville’s Brown Hotel to discuss issues in racing. From that meeting, the AAEP was born and so began a commitment to the racehorse and the sharing of information and education.

The AAEP has never wavered in its commitment to the racehorse. Whether it’s research, education, or continuation of our award-winning “On Call” program to serve the industry’s communication needs, the AAEP has had a long history with racing since its inception and will continue to stay involved, in all areas, to put the horse first.

Dr. Kathleen Anderson is President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners