At its August 19 meeting at Del Mar Turf Club in Del Mar, California, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board approved a model rule for the regulation of bisphosphonates as well as further regulations and stacking prohibitions for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and intra-articular (IA) injections.
The proposed Model Rule for the regulation of bisphosphonates in horses racing and training, which will be submitted to the Association of Racing Commissioners International for its approval, was developed in consideration of the presumed risk from administration of bisphosphonates to young horses racing and training, and the absence of any evidence for the safety of the drug in that population.
“Our Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) felt strongly that until there is research that proves otherwise, limiting the administration of bisphosphonates to horses four years of age and older and ensuring that the administration is done in accordance with label requirements are vital to protecting the welfare of our equine athletes,” said RMTC Executive Director and COO Dr. Mary Scollay.
The RMTC board voted to recommend a 48-hour Restricted Administration Time policy for all NSAIDs. Currently, the administration of one NSAID is permitted between 24 and 48 hours prior to a race, with all others discontinued by 48 hours. The board also voted that the detection of more than one NSAID would constitute a violation under the policy. Regulatory language, including proposed penalties and additional withdrawal guidance, is forthcoming.
The RMTC board affirmed the position of its SAC that additional constraints on IA injections are warranted, including a mandatory stand down period following IA injections as well as a prohibition on stacking corticosteroids. Under the stacking prohibition, detection of more than one corticosteroid would be a violation.
RMTC board members also heard plans for the third annual Regulatory Veterinarians Continuing Education Conference, scheduled March 2-3, at Santa Anita Park. Official veterinarians from racetracks and regulatory authorities across North America and around the globe are expected to attend.
The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.
For additional information, visit the RMTC website at rmtcnet.com or contact Hallie Lewis, RMTC communications and development consultant, at (859) 759-4081.
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