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Reference Desk November 2011

New Medication Rules for Competition Horses Go Into Effect December 1

    LEXINGTON, Kentucky, November 7, 2011---Motivated by its commitment to the welfare of the horse, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Board of Directors voted to amend its Therapeutic Drug Rule and restrict use to a single NSAID beginning December 1, 2011. Both the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) supported the rule change, and USEF now joins other organizations including the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Equine Canada in implementing this rule change.

    Beginning December 1, only one of the seven approved Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs listed in the USEF Rule GR 410.4 will be permitted to be present in the same plasma or urine sample.

    Detection times of some of the therapeutic drugs used on competition horses have also been revised. 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 dose and time recommendations found on pages 12–14 of the 2012 Guidelines for Drugs & Medications.

    Emergency Use of Flunixin

    Following the move to allow only one NSAID to be present in the same plasma or urine sample of a horse in competition, and acting on the USEF Veterinary Committee’s recommendation, the USEF Board of Directors approved a rule provision allowing for the emergency administration of flunixin (Banamine®) by a veterinarian to treat colic or an ophthalmic emergency. Filing a USEF Medication Report Form is required if an NSAID listed in GR410 (a) through (g), other than flunixin, has been administered to the horse within the three days prior. It will additionally require that the Medication Report Form be signed by the veterinarian who administered the flunixin (Banamine®) and the same medication report should document a 24-hour withdrawal from competition following administration. It is important to note that compliance with this rule is dependent upon the flunixin (Banamine®) being administered by a licensed veterinarian following a physical exam.

    Anabolic Steroids Reclassified as Forbidden Substance

    Also effective December 1, anabolic steroids will be considered a Forbidden Substance under the USEF Therapeutic 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. This means that, if anabolic steroids are administered and/or any surgical implants are removed, the administration and/or procedure occurs sufficiently in advance of competing to ensure these substances are not present in the blood or urine at the time of competition.

    FEI Banned Substances

    The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Clean Sport initiative inspired changes to USEF GR 409, which affect the rules governing FEI discipline competition at USEF Licensed Competitions. More information and a listing of FEI Prohibited Substances is available at  http://www.feicleansport.org/prohibited.html. While alleged violations of USEF GR 409 will still be heard by the USEF, sanctions potentially imposed for violation could result in assessment of a $15,000 fine and a two-year suspension (consistent with FEI Sanctions).

    Caution is urged with respect to the use of medicinal preparations, tonics, pastes, and products of any kind (even those labeled “natural,” “herbal,” or “holistic,” as the ingredients and their quantitative analysis are not specifically known. Many contain one or more banned substances under the FEI rules. There are therapeutic exceptions, however, which allow for the use of anti-infectious substances and the anti-ulcer medications ranitidine and omeprazole. It is important to note that these anti-ulcer medications are forbidden in endurance rides governed by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC).

    The new competition year begins December 2011. With all of these important rule changes taking effect, the USEF (www.usef.org) encourages every exhibitor, trainer, coach, and owner to take the time, prior to competing, to carefully review the Guidelines for How Long Drugs Remain Detectable by contacting the USEF D&M Program at 859.258.2472 to request a copy of the 2012 USEF Drugs & Medications Guidelines.

    Source: United States Equestrian Federation

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