Federal Charges Brought Against Veterinarian In Louisiana Dermorphin Case

by | 02.10.2017 | 4:41pm

After an investigation that spanned close to five years, federal authorities have indicted a Louisiana veterinarian with treating horses with an illegal synthetic drug.

The Associated Press reports that veterinarian Kyle Hebert has been charged with injecting at least four horses with dermorphin, a powerful Class 1 painkiller.

Authorities charge that Hebert intentionally mislabeled syringes containing the drug, claiming instead that it was an “herb,” and telling trainers that it would help their horses run faster.

The charges brought against Hebert stem from an investigation that began in 2012, when the Louisiana State Racing Commission suspended several trainers after many of their horses tested positive for dermorphin (a.k.a ‘frog juice').

Read the Associated Press article.

  • ben

    The vet,s and their oath.

    • wjfraz

      Yep. The Hypocritical oath.

      • Doc

        Contrary to popular belief Veterinarians do not take the Hipocratic Oath. Nor do they swear “to do no harm.” Which you probably are referring to.

        They are, of course, required to act ethically and are obligated to uphold the rules of racing.

        • longtimehorsewoman

          Veterinarians do take an oath, but it’s not a great one.

          Being admitted to the profession of
          veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and
          skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal
          health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the
          conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and
          the advancement of medical knowledge.

          I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

          I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

  • Robin

    I hope they have their license pulled, their is no place for that in horse racing

  • Hamish

    Wonder if this type situation goes on any place other than Louisiana?

    • The better question would be where doesn’t it go on

  • Figless

    Jail time is the only way these people will get the message, need to make examples of those that are caught in situations like this where intent is clear.

    • Steel Panther

      Agreed. Jail time and ban them for LIFE! Seems like in horse racing, when you get caught, you appeal the process for years, then if found guilty or suspended, another jurisdiction will let you back in (P-Val in LA). Numerous jocks have gotten a “slap on the wrist” for cheating through the years. Sylvester Carmouche (fog incident) was allowed to ride again. Roman Chapa recently got caught with a machine and only got 5 years suspension. Ban them for life and maybe others will think twice about cheating. Baseball banned Pete Rose for life and no MLB player or coach has been accused of gambling in 30 years. Why? Players and coaches are too scared because of the significant consequences. Harsher penalties are needed.

  • Minneola

    Is anyone really surprised by this? This drug might be easily tested for but how many other drugs go undetected because those cheaters stay one step ahead of everyone else involved in the testing? Just remember that a certain celebrity bicyclist didn’t get caught using PEDs for a one time event. He just knew how to avoid the detection involved in testing and that had been going on for several years before ever being exposed and stripped of his medals/trophies.

  • Michael Keler

    I don’t know this vet, nor do I personally know the trainer in PA who is now subject to potential jail time and massive monetary punishment, however, I am speaking more to these stories coming to light and getting national exposure. We can debate “Federal involvement” in our sport and industry. We can debate the route traveled in order to get to a certain place or destination as it relates to “cheating” in our sport and industry. There is a lot we can debate.

    Solving the problem of cheating, drugs, etc. — is a journey. Not a destination. I think it is good that Federal charges, jail time, and massive financial/monetary penalties are being brought down upon these people who allegedly have done these things. While this cannot be oversimplified — there must be harsh consequences or else people will keep doing these things. The “pain” of getting caught must outweigh the risk one takes and the gamble of not getting caught. That’s the example our sport and industry must set. Many critics say too little too late. I disagree. All of us want to see more and faster. We will build momentum and the progress made will become more and faster, and exponential.

  • The permissive medication mindset of pre-race Lasix induces this sort of performance enhancing veterinary behavior. Lasix will have to be banned to diminish the practice of medication as an influencer of race outcomes.

  • Carla Parrillo

    Unethical behavior by Veterinarians has gone on for many years. This report of course confirms what we have already been aware of.
    On the positive side reports like this support and reinforce the point that now more the ever; they are getting caught and yes, penalties can be stricter and enforced.
    Why is Lasix classified as an enhancer for speed. Horse owners and other medical professionals have commented it help or avoids fluid from accumulating on the heart and lungs. This is to protect the horses, as it would humans from fluid retention.
    Wherever this goes just protect the horses first.

  • McGov

    Wow….5 years eh? Things happen slow down there in Louisiana. Up here in Canada a guy literally decapitates and eats a man in 2008….cured and released in 2017. THAT is how you get sh&^ done. Seven years from complete crazy cannibal to perfectly drugged and civilised.
    Yep, we don’t mess around. In 5 years this guy could have been out already too and off neutering cats in his new vet clinic. Sloppy, if you ask me ;)

  • Eric

    And so it goes in Louisiana. Can you imagine a respected trainer agreeing to inject their own horse with some mysterious “herb” one hour before the race (a blatant no-no)? Wouldn’t you as a trainer ask questions about this substance, or do some research? If the vet’s invoice listed the name of the medication as “d-peptide” and you googled it and found nothing (because d-peptide is a fictitious name) wouldn’t that set off alarm bells?

    The vet has been accused of going rogue by not telling the trainers what he was supplying them. I have a hard time believing that the trainers were totally in the dark, At the very least they showed incredibly poor judgement by looking the other way.

    • Larry Ensor

      “d-peptide” and you googled it and found nothing”

      Excellent analogy!

  • JoeJoe

    Could this be why LA trainers cannot win out of state? Amoss, Borberg., etc.,

    • Amoss wins everywhere he goes.

      • Eric

        Amoss is 21% at CD since 2013, 20% at Kee, 36% at Ind, since 2013.

        That modest “Borberg” fella is 22% at RP, 24% at PrM, 28% at Ret, 32% at LS, 19% at Hou and probably winning races at another out of state track or two that I am not thinking of (all since 2013).

        All are good sample sizes. They win anywhere.

  • El Espresso

    So maybe the Feds are saying ” want to make a deal ??” Who and where did you get the demorphin from ?? Then they will get the “real guy” they’ve been after for several years now….or maybe they won’t ask those questions, then the vet gets off on a technicality and racing in Louisiana stays just as honest and straight laced as it is today.

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