The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) raised concerns about gamma-aminobutyric acid last year, ultimately banning use of the depressant in competition. Now, horse racing officials are investigating whether the drug, also known as GABA or “Carolina Gold” is being administered along with race day Lasix.
Officials with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium told Blood-Horse that they are in the process of mapping out a course of action regarding GABA. There are tests for GABA, although they are not offered by all laboratories, and the drug can be difficult to detect, since it clears the system in four hours. The substance is naturally present in a horse's body, which complicates the process of establishing a testing threshold.
Poor reactions to GABA, which is administered intravenously, can result in sudden death. According to a press release by USEF at the time of its ban, it has no recognized medical use but is thought to act as a calming agent, which can effect performance.
Read more at Blood-Horse
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