International Summit on Race Day Medication: EIPH and the racehorse

International Summit on Race Day Medication: EIPH and the racehorse

Coming to a consensus on treating exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage
Sep 01, 2011

The search for a global solution: Whether or not to allow the administration of furosemide on race day was the main point of contention because the United States and other countries have very different policies and regulations. (DAVID JOYNER/GETTY IMAGES)
On June 13-14, 2011, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) hosted the first International Summit on Race Day Medication at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., which focused on exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) and the use of furosemide in racehorses.

The event was jointly sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC). Veterinarians, trainers and racing officials from the United States and various international racing jurisdictions, including Ireland, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Australia, participated in the discussions.

Summit panel veterinarians and discussion topics
Day 1 moderator was Robert Lewis, DVM, a past president of the AAEP and chairman of the RMTC. (See the sidebar for the summit panel veterinarians and discussion topics.)

Initiation of the meeting

Heart of the matter: The goal of the summit was to address the topic of race day medication in a manner that would allow for the best outcome for horses and for the horse racing industry.(JASON HOSKING/GETTY IMAGES)
Scott Palmer, VMD, Dipl. ABVP, New Jersey Equine Clinic and chairman of the AAEP Racing Committee, opened the event stating, "The Race Day Summit concept came about after the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) meeting in New Orleans in February 2011, where officials issued a press release calling for a ban on all race day medications." Several groups with an agenda to eliminate race day medication, including the Jockey Club, endorsed the press release.

In North America, there are 38 different racing jurisdictions with medication rules that generally forbid the use of any race day medication except for the treatment of horses that experience EIPH. Furosemide has been used in racing for about 30 years, and from the beginning it has been controversial. The industry is polarized on this emotional issue.

"If you look at the issue of EIPH with a Salix lens, the discussion takes on a yes or no format; there is no opportunity for consensus," says Palmer. "We felt that the current paradigm for this issue was a dead-end street.

"The RMTC, NTRA and the AAEP convened the summit to refocus the discussion on the medical condition of EIPH and the racehorse rather than furosemide, per se. What do we know about the condition and what is the best way to manage it in the parimutuel environment?" says Palmer. "We felt that if we could address the race day medication issue from that standpoint, we might find some areas of consensus and move the discussion in a positive direction. Since the condition occurs in racing horses around the world and is regulated internationally without the use of furosemide on race day, we wanted to hear from people around the world—how they manage it, how they treat it and how they regulate it. We could get the international perspective and see what we might learn from their experience."