07/25/2011 12:17PM

National HBPA endorses raceday use of Lasix

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The board of directors of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association passed a resolution on Sunday in support of the raceday use of the diuretic Lasix to treat bleeding in the lungs, the association said.

The resolution is a formal adoption of a position that the National HBPA has advocated over the past several months during an ongoing debate over the use of Lasix on raceday. Racing organizations have been debating whether to ban the use of Lasix since several high-profile organizations began agitating for a prohibition on all raceday medications in late March. The National HBPA and its affiliates have been the only organizations that have publicly pushed back against the ban.

In the resolution, the National HBPA said it would support a ban on so-called “adjunct bleeder medications,” which are legal to administer in three states – Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maryland. The resolution also stated that the National HBPA would support policies that would restrict the raceday administration of the drug to state veterinarians. With the exception of New York and Canadian provinces, private racetrack veterinarians are currently allowed to administer injections of Lasix.

In meeting with other industry groups, HBPA officials have been offering the ban on adjunct medications and the restrictions on the administration of Lasix as a compromise position. The HBPA contends that Lasix is the only treatment that has been proven to mitigate bleeding in the lungs.

Two weeks ago, the Breeders’ Cup passed a resolution banning the raceday use of Lasix in the five Breeders’ Cup races restricted to 2-year-olds in 2012. The ban will be expanded to all 15 Breeders’ Cup races in 2013.

The discussion on whether to go forward on a ban is being led by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, an industry-funded group that has a broad cross-section of racing constituencies on its board. The consortium has scheduled its next meeting for Aug. 4.

In a release, the National HBPA said that its Medication Committee chairman, Kent Stirling, will represent the National HBPA at the Aug. 4 meeting.