International equine organization readies for vote on NSAID policy

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Aug 20, 2010
By dvm360.com staff
Lausanne, Switzerland -- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have their place in equine sports, according to representatives from U.S. sport horse organizations at a recent Congress on the topic.

Limits should be set, but NSAID use should not be banned, argues Stephen Schumacher, chief administrator of the equine drugs and medications programme of the United States Equestrian Federation. "We believe the welfare of our horses is not put into jeopardy with the judicious use of NSAIDS, and their use may in fact be beneficial," Schumacher says.

The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the body in charge of Olympic equestrian sports worldwide, has two options in an upcoming vote in November on NSAIDS, according to the organization's general counsel, Lisa Lazarus. The FEI may abandon any proposed change to the ban on NSAIDs, or the FEI may permit the use of NSAIDS at appropriate levels while informing athletes and participants that the FEI rules do not supersede any national law in countries hosting events.

There is also an issue of cost in allowing NSAIDS or continuing the ban. Steve Maynard, laboratory director at Horseracing Forensic Laboratory Sport Science in Fordham, U.K., says quantitative testing to determine the level of NSAIDS in horses is more costly than analysis to detect the presence of NSAIDs.

Videos of all speeches, PowerPoint presentations, panel sessions and full debate during the two-day Congress on NSAID Usage and Medication in the Equine Athlete will be available later this week on FEI's YouTube channel.