In a recent commentary for DVM 360, Dr. Ed Kane wrote that the anabolic steroid positives detected in Maryland at the end of 2014 and 2015 raise a number of questions about the responsibilities of veterinarians on the backstretch. Although experts agree that there are appropriate applications of anabolic steroids in the treatment of certain ailments, the hormones should not be used as performance enhancers.
One of the complicating aspects of the administration and regulation of hormones is that stanozolol, one of the anabolic steroids authorities test for, can have sustained-release properties. According to Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, stanozolol is a liquid that contains solid particles of different sizes. The small particles break down and release the steroid more quickly, while larger particles take more time to have their effects.
The process gets messier when the trainer opts to use compounded products, either on their own or at the behest of a veterinarian. Depending on the source, there can be variability in the amount of active ingredient in compounded products containing steroids, which means, experts say, veterinarians need to be more conservative in their timeline for bringing the horse back to the races.
Ultimately, a veterinarian's responsibility depends on whether they have prescribed or recommended the product, but in that situations, regulators told Kane that practitioners should be considered responsible if their treatment results in a positive test.
Read more at DVM 360
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