Updated on 08/23/2011 9:26AM

Kentucky drug panel calls for end to raceday adjunct bleeding medication


The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council has issued a recommendation to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to ban the use of so-called “adjunct bleeder medications” on race days and restrict the administration of raceday furosemide to commission veterinarians.

The drug council’s approval of the recommendation at a Friday meeting dovetails with a larger effort to change raceday medication policies in jurisdictions across the United States. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is expected to take up the recommendation at a meeting later this year, but not before several other changes to raceday medication rules and penalty guidelines have been contemplated by commission committees, according to Lisa Underwood, the executive director of the commission.

“We want to do this right, and so we need to reach out to everyone who is going to be affected,” Underwood said.

Kentucky is one of a handful of states that allow for the raceday use of three adjunct bleeder medications in conjunction with furosemide, a diuretic that is currently legal to administer in all North American racing jurisdictions to treat bleeding in the lungs. The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, a national group, recently recommended that commissions roll back any rules allowing for the raceday use of adjunct bleeder medications, a recommendation that was also endorsed by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

The recommendation to prohibit private veterinarians from administering raceday injections of furosemide has also been endorsed by the medication consortium and the national horsemen’s group. Currently, only two jurisdictions, New York and Canada, limit raceday injections to state veterinarians.