AAEP's guidelines for veterinarians focus on medication use at the racetrack - DVM
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AAEP's guidelines for veterinarians focus on medication use at the racetrack


The issues

The core focus of this document is that the medication of racehorses should be based on a clinical diagnosis rather than the entry date. The AAEP thinks that healthcare decisions based on race entry dates alone are not in the best interest of the horse.

"Some people might say, 'Well, of course, that's obvious,'" says Palmer. "But the truth of the matter is that despite how obvious that is, the racing schedule does impact the way these horses are managed. We're not nave to that fact. If these horses were not racing, a lot of this medication wouldn't be needed."

Some of the issues addressed by the document include:

1. No medication, with the exception of furosemide, should be given to a horse on race day.

2. Any medication given prior to race day should be in accordance with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) guidelines ( http://rmtcnet.com/).

3. A 10-day withdrawal period is necessary after shockwave treatment.

4. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy should not be performed after the entry date.

5. Caution should be used in the selection, timing and frequency of intra-articular corticosteroids in high-motion joints.

6. Intra-articular use of local anesthetics is indicated for diagnostic procedures only.

7. Under no circumstances should local anesthetics, antinociceptive agents or neurotoxic agents be used intra-articularly or periarticularly prior to competition.

8. Under no circumstances should perineural treatments be used to desensitize a portion of the body prior to competition.

9. Integrative therapies should be based on valid medical diagnoses.

10. All procedures performed should be documented in a medical record.

11. Practitioners should not reuse needles, syringes or any equipment that might be contaminated with blood or other body fluids.

12. All communication with owners and trainers should be transparent.

13. Practice vehicles should only contain medications that are legal for use under FDA guidelines, with appropriate compliance to labeling, refrigeration instructions and expiration dates.

14. The veterinarian should limit the use of compounded drugs to unique needs in specific patients and for those uses in which a physiological response can be monitored, or those for which no other method or route of delivery is practical.

Another important concept in the document is the veterinary business model. "The fact is that veterinarians for many years at the racetrack have been charging for medications and giving away their professional services," Palmer says. "We consider this to be an upside-down business model. Veterinarians need to appropriately bill for their professional services and their education and charge less for medications. They need to shift that emphasis. We think that's really important."

"I appreciate the document being laid out in a defined, concise manner. It's the result of my peers, using their years of experience, to put together clear, thoughtful guidelines," says Bernard Dowd, DVM, racetrack practitioner, founding partner at North Atlantic Equine Assoc., Monmouth Park, N.J. "I think the AAEP guidelines only help strengthen the racing industry."


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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