A resolution supporting Thoroughbred racing medication policies in Kentucky wasn't approved unanimously by the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners as had been reported. Meanwhile, the chairman of the KAEP raceday medication committee says more research is needed before definitive action can be taken.
Dr. Daryl Easley said the resolution, signed by six members, was adopted June 20 while he was out of town. Easley said it was simply a matter of "miscommunication" in that Dr. Jerry Johnson, chairman of the KAEP's raceday medication committee, "was under the impression I was in favor of the status quo. I've since spoke to him, and we decided it would be best to my name removed (from the record)."
A document presented to the Kentucky Racing Commission in July 3 contained the names and signatures of six veterinarians -- Johnson, Easley, Robert Copelan, Arnold Pessin, Mark Cheney, and Peter Pryor -- and said it was adopted unanimously. Easley said Johnson believed he was in favor of the resolution.
Bloodhorse.com reported the document as having been adopted unanimously.
Johnson confirmed that Easley didn't sign the resolution, but also said there was a question as to whether Easley was a KAEP member. Easley is listed as a member of the raceday medication committee. "He's certainly qualified," Johnson said.
The resolution supports medication rules now in place in Kentucky, and supports the "humane treatment of horses that suffer from exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage." It goes on to say that "it is the duty of all veterinary associations to support continuing education and research for the purpose of improving the welfare of the horse."
Last October, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, to which some KAEP members belong, adopted a new medication policy that, among other things, calls for a ban on all raceday medications other than the diuretic furosemide to treat internal bleeding. Kentucky allows administration of other therapeutic medications, such as phenylbutazone, the day of a race.
Easley indicated the situation involving the resolution has been rectified to his satisfaction. On the broader issue of medication, he said he prefers that only furosemide (Lasix, now known as Salix) be permitted on race days.
Johnson said the issue is more complicated that it appears. He said the raceday medication committee believes "anti-bleeder medication" should be permitted on race day, but the question of what constitutes anti-bleeder medication remains. For example, it's possible phenylbutazone could relieve pain and in turn prevent bleeding, he said.
"We're saying we should leave (the rules) alone for now and do more research into anti-bleeder medication," Johnson said. "What we're trying to do is keep medication in the hands of veterinarians, and not in trainers' hands."