Lexington, Ky. — The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Board of Directors amended its therapeutic drug rule to restrict
use to a single non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
The rule mandates that only one of the seven approved NSAIDs—diclofenac, phenylbutazone, flunixin, ketoprofen, meclofenamic,
naproxen and firocoxib—will be permitted in competition horses. Additionally, the detection times for the seven NSAIDs currently
approved for use with quantitative restrictions has been reduced from seven to three days, according to USEF.
The USEF Board also approved a rule provision, with support from its Veterinary Committee, allowing emergency administration
of flunixin by a veterinarian to treat colic or an ophthalmic emergency. The drug would have to be administered by a licensed
veterinarian following a physical examination, and a medication report form will have to be completed by the veterinarian,
The new rule, which was supported by both the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA), takes effect Dec. 1.
USEF says the change was inspired by the organization's commitment to equine welfare. Similar rules already are in place at
other organizations including the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Equine Canada.
Also effective Dec. 1, USEF will consider anabolic steroids a "forbidden substance."
"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," the
new rule states.