U.S. Equestrian Federation modifies veterinary rules on NSAID use in competition horses

New racing rules also allow veterinarians to use flunixin for colic, ophthalmic emergencies; anabolic steroids considered a 'forbidden substance'
source-image
Nov 14, 2011
By dvm360.com staff
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, USEF notes.

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 like 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.