Uniformity in equine drug-testing and medication use won't come easy if comments made by panelists at the University of Florida's Equine Medical Symposium are any indication. If anything, the March 15 discussion revealed splits within the racing industry and brought up the question as to whether medication is really the root of the industry's problems.
As the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force prepared for its March 12 meeting, some racetrack veterinarians moved closer to forming their own organization.
Kentucky has taken its ban on "milkshakes" in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing one step further with a specific directive that naso-gastric tubes cannot be used at all on raceday, even for therapeutic purposes. The commission said the directive was issued "to inform current and newly licensed veterinary practitioners of current policy."
The American Association of Equine Practitioners has spent many hours over the past year getting ready for the Dec. 4 medication summit that will be part of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program's Symposium on Racing. "We hope for the first time to bring together key stakeholders in the racing industry to specifically discuss racehorse medication," said Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, 2001 president of the AAEP.
A group of racetrack veterinarians have offered their own proposal for "universal race-day medication and testing," and have told the American Association of Equine Practitioners they want their collective voice heard during a medication summit planned for Dec. 4 in Tucson, Ariz.
The incidence of known pericarditis cases in Central Kentucky has reached nearly 60 horses. At least a dozen horses have died because of the condition, which produces inflammation of, and fluid in, the sac surrounding the heart.
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