The use of bisphosphonates in young horses is a hot-button issue with the recent rash of breakdowns at Santa Anita Park, and last week the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association began pushing for rules that would partially ban bisphosphonates. The drug, commercially known as Osphos or Tildren and used to treat symptoms of navicular disease, is not approved for horses under four years of age. Many industry experts are concerned about the use of bisphosphonates in young horses because they believe it could make bones more susceptible to fractures.
On Saturday, the Consignors and Commerical Breeders Association (CBA) issued the following statement regarding bisphosphonates:
The Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association (CBA) and its members are first and foremost concerned about equine health. The recent tragedies in California have led to a full examination of how our industry cares for horses from the moment a foal hits the ground all the way up until an injury occurs. Conclusions have been made that the use of bisphosphonates in horses younger than 4 years old has led to unintended and dangerous side effects that weaken our equine athletes. While it is believed that the rate of usage in foals and yearlings has been limited, the CBA believes any 'off label' use of bisphosphonates in young horses is unacceptable.
The CBA works democratically on behalf of every consignor and commercial breeder, large and small, to provide representation and a constructive, unified voice related to sales issues, policies, and procedures. The Association's initiatives are designed to encourage a fair and expanding market place for all who breed, buy, or sell thoroughbreds.
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