Adjunct Bleeder Medication Ban Advanced in Kentucky

An advisory panel to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has approved a recommendation to prohibit the race day use of adjunct bleeder medications in the state.

By a vote of 5-2, the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council (EDRC) Aug. 19 agreed to include an adjunct bleeder medication ban in its final medication recommendations that will be sent to the full commission later. The EDRC is meeting on a regular basis as part of a process of reviewing and revising the state's medication rules.

Mary Scollay, DVM, KHRC equine medical director, said the advisory board voted to recommend prohibition of adjunct bleeder medications, which can be administered to horses in addition to the common anti-bleeder medication Salix, as a matter of uniformity and because there is no scientific evidence "support the efficacy of adjunct bleeder medications." Adjunct bleeder medications include substances such as Tranex, Amicar, Premarin, Estrone, and Theelin.

Also, Scollay said, Kentucky racing has a higher rate of epistaxis (bleeding from the nose) than most other jurisdictions, indicating the possibility that the "availability of adjuncts has had a negative impact on the quality of horses running in Kentucky."

Noting that Kentucky is among a minority of states allowing such medications, Scollay said, "I think it is pretty clear that high quality racing can be conducted safely without them."

Also on a 5-2 vote, the EDRC agreed to recommend that the threshold level for phenylbutazone (Bute), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, be lowered from five micrograms per milliliter of plasma or serum to two micrograms. Phenylbutazone can be administered up to 24 hours before a race in most jurisdictions.

Last fall, the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) approved a model rule calling for the lower phenulbutazone threshold. The RCI said it had received formal support for the lower threshold from the American Association of Equine Practitioners, The Jockey Club, The Jockeys' Guild, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Additionally, on a 6-1 vote, the council approved a recommendation to have Salix administered on race days by the commission's veterinarians rather than a trainer's private veterinarian.

The EDRC review comes at a time when there are national moves underway to revise medication regulations, with some steps already being taken to prohibit the race day use of Salix in graded stakes.

Once the EDRC completes its work on the medication rules, the recommendations will be sent to the KHRC's rules committee for review and approval. Once the commission votes on the regulations, another regulatory process will begin that will include public hearings.

About the Author

Ron Mitchell/The Horse

Ron Mitchell is Online Managing Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine. A Lexington native, Mitchell joined The Blood-Horse after serving in editorial capacities with The Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times, specializing in business and auction aspects of the industry, and was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Horsemen’s Journal. As online managing editor, Mitchell works closely with The Blood-Horse news editor and other departments to make sure the website content is the most thorough and accurate source for all Thoroughbred news, results, videos, and data.

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