RMTC Makes Corticosteroid Recommendations

RMTC Makes Corticosteroid Recommendations

Among the recommendations was a prohibition on corticosteroids joint injections within seven days of a race.

Photo: The Horse Staff

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) has approved minimum withdrawal time recommendations for corticosteroids based on recently completed work at the University of Pennsylvania; University of California, Davis, Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory; HFL Laboratory Kentucky; and other corticosteroid research centers both in the United States and abroad.

The work was partially funded by RMTC, which approved the recommendations earlier this month and forwarded them to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) for review.

Recommendations were developed during an RMTC-hosted Corticosteroid Experts Conference in Anaheim, Cal. Nov. 30. The meeting brought together qualified individuals with professional expertise in key areas with the goal of providing a comprehensive plan for regulating corticosteroid use in horse racing to protect equine health and welfare.

Participants included analytical chemists, veterinary pharmacologists, veterinary surgeons, racing regulatory veterinarians, and practicing racetrack veterinarians.

Among the recommendations was a prohibition on intra-articular (in the joint) use of corticosteroids within seven days of a race.

"This recommendation takes into consideration the concerns expressed by many participants at the conference about the proximity of intra-articular injections to race day," said RMTC executive director Dionne Benson, DVM, in a release.

The experts also recommended a 72-hour withdrawal time for dexamethasone, a commonly used short-acting corticosteroid that can be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, and orally. Other short-acting corticosteroids would have similar restrictions.

"These recommendations represent the work of a number of laboratories and veterinarians both here in the U.S. and overseas," said Benson. "This work was supported across the industry through funds contributed to the RMTC for research as well as the experts' time. Without the industry's commitment, these recommendations would not be possible."

The group recognized the recommendations will fundamentally change the use of corticosteroids and veterinary practice in racing. Accordingly, it recommended these changes be accompanied by a grace period to allow veterinarians time to adjust their veterinary practices and to allow trainers to adjust their training practices to comply with the new regulations.

"The goal in bringing these experts together was to develop scientifically based and enforceable recommendations for the regulation of corticosteroids," said RMTC chairman Robert Lewis, DVM. "The group's recommendations allow for practitioners to use corticosteroids where medically indicated for treatment of the horse and remove the pressure of treatment based upon whether a horse is entered to race."

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

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The Blood-Horse Staff

The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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