07/10/2007 12:00AM

Louisiana adds top vet


The Louisiana State Racing Commission has hired an equine medical director and will add four new additional veterinarians to its roster, the regulatory body announced on Tuesday.

The newly named medical director, Dr. Tom David, has been a racetrack practitioner in Louisiana and the association veterinarian at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. He began in his new position on Monday, the commission said.

The newly created position is charged with supervising new and existing state veterinarians and overseeing the state's medical and testing practices.

The racing commission said in a release that the creation of the position and the hiring of an additional veterinarian at each of Louisiana's four racetracks was made financially feasible by increased funding for the commission from slot-machine revenue at racetracks.

Last year, the California Horse Racing Board also created the position of an equine medical director, hiring Dr. Rick Arthur. The creation of the positions comes as horse racing is attempting to revise its drug rules so that states have uniform regulations and as many states begin to adopt a wider range of testing practices.

During the past five years, the Louisiana commission has adopted the recommendations of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, an industry-funded group that issues uniform rules, and has added tests to detect blood-enhancing drugs such as erythropoietin and darbepoietin. The commission has also begun testing for excess dissolved carbon dioxide in a horse's blood - the signature of the banned practice known as milkshaking.