AQHA to Examine Furosemide Ban for Show Horses

AQHA to Examine Furosemide Ban for Show Horses

Furosemide is used to help mitigate exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage occurrence.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

While the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) recognizes the therapeutic benefits of the drug furosemide (marketed as Salix and commonly known as Lasix), to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) in racehorses, the organization’s Executive Committee recently asked its Animal Welfare Commission to review the proposed prohibition of furosemide for show horses set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

The organization said balancing the use of therapeutic medication for the horse welfare in different types of competition, such as racing and showing, while minimizing or eliminating performance-enhancing properties of medication compounds has been a challenge in the equine industry.

Furosemide has been endorsed by several equine groups and the American Association of Equine Practitioners to lessen the occurrence of EIPH in racehorses. Consistent with such groups, AQHA opposed the latest version of the newly introduced Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, which would eliminate all race-day medications, including furosemide, in Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse racing.

The AQHA and Executive Committee said they look forward to receiving additional input from the Animal Welfare Commission regarding the proposed prohibition of furosemide across all disciplines of show horses, including whether disciplines that could have a higher incidence of EIPH warrant different furosemide policies.

In the interim, the current rule change will be held for review, and the final decision of the Executive Committee regarding furosemide use in show horses will be announced on after the investigation is concluded.

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