Two research projects designed to study the impact of furosemide on exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage will be conducted on behalf of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, the organization said Sept. 15.
The studies will examine the pathophysiology of EIPH, or bleeding in horses' lungs. The condition is currently treated with furosemide, also known as Lasix or Salix; it's the only medication permitted for use on race day.
The foundation said the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation has a major role in funding the projects, and that the following racetracks and racing companies have pledged support at an equal level: Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, New York Racing Association, Oak Tree Racing Association, Oaklawn Park, and The Stronach Group. The AAEP recently announced a strategy to find alternatives to race-day Lasix administration.
The projects are being conducted by Dr. Warwick Bayly at Washington State University and Dr. Heather Knych at University of California-Davis. Among the objectives is further pursuit of data following preliminary work that indicated the beneficial effect of Lasix administered 24 hours prior to exercise may be equal to, and in some parameters better than, Lasix administered at four hours pre-exercise.
The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation had requested more "science" on EIPH and the use of furosemide to try to mitigate its effects. Five proposals were submitted and the two were selected by a subcommittee of veterinarians and researchers from the foundation's Research Advisory Committee.
"At the New York Gaming Commission's recent forum on Lasix, the need for more scientific research on EIPH and Lasix was stated over and over," Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation chairperson Dell Hancock said in a Sept. 15 release. "We had been working on organizing this effort for several months. At the same time, the AAEP had been designing its recently announced 10-point program, which prominently features emphasis on EIPH research.
"So, I am confident that the scientific community is poised to provide some significant answers, from these current projects and continuing research."
Dr. Larry Bramlage, a member of the foundation board and the AAEP Racing Committee, said the two projects will employ similar approaches to test the indications from the preliminary studies and will use two different populations of horses. The projects will use one group of subjects that are active bleeders and one group that are not bleeding, in comparable trials.
"Both will use horses on the treadmill, as well as actual racehorses on the track in simulated races out of the gate to gather data," Bramlage said. "This covers the spectrum of controlled scientific data collection and real-life competition using Thoroughbred racehorses that are intended to continue racing after the projects are completed.
"Researchers on both projects will collect physiologic and pharmacologic data. These projects present an exceptional opportunity to understand more about EIPH than we have ever known."