RCI Board Votes to Examine Furosemide Policy

The board of directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) voted without objection this week in favor of a resolution calling for the re-examination of whether its current policy pertaining to furosemide (Salix, commonly used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in race horses) should be continued.

The RCI also endorsed international coordination and collaboration on overall medication policies and underscored the need to do so with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and corticosteroid treatments.

"This issue elicits strong opinions," said RCI President Ed Martin. "Our goal is to do what is right for the sport and its equine and human athletes. This begins our formal process to consider the proposals that have been made."

The RCI resolution expressed support for the international summit to be jointly convened this summer by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. That summit was spurred by calls by some RCI officials for a multi-year phase out of race day administration of furosemide as well as adjuncts where allowed.

The RCI Board resolution specifically requests that the RMTC summit:

Identify and assess the effectiveness of non-drug reliant alternatives to the management of EIPH in use internationally;

Assess the adequacy of current RCI Model Rules pertaining to the exclusion of "Bleeders", i.e., horses diagnosed with epistaxis (nosebleeds); and

Assess whether proposals to withdraw furosemide as a regulated race day medication would have an adverse and meaningful impact on the overall health of our horses and safety of their riders and drivers.

The RCI Board will next meet in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., July 27.

"We eagerly await the summit and welcome any recommendations the RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee may make," said Martin, who noted that the RCI Regulatory Veterinarians Committee has also been asked to assess the information presented at the RMTC/AAEP/NTRA Summit and propose Model Rule adjustments as appropriate.

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