The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced Sept. 15 that it has launched the funding of two projects aimed at in-depth investigation of the pathophysiology of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) and the effect of the medication furosemide on that condition.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is playing a prominent role in funding the projects, and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has reached out to racetracks to complete the funding. To date, the following racetracks and companies have pledged financial support at an equal level: Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, New York Racing Association, Oak Tree Racing Association, Oaklawn Park, and The Stronach Group.

The projects are being conducted by Warwick Bayly, BVSc, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, at Washington State University and Heather Knych, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVCP, at University of California, Davis. Among objectives is further pursuit of data following preliminary work that indicated the beneficial effect of furosemide (also known as Lasix or Salix) administered 24 hours prior to exercise could be equal to, and in some parameters better than, furosemide administered at four hours pre-exercise.

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation had put out a call for more science on EIPH and the use of furosemide to try to mitigate its effects. Five proposals were submitted, and these two were selected by a subcommittee of veterinarians and researchers from the foundation’s Research Advisory Committee.

“At the New York Gaming Commission’s recent forum on Lasix, the need for more scientific research on EIPH and Lasix was stated over and over,” said Dell Hancock, chairman of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. “We had been working on organizing this effort for several months. At the same time, the AAEP had been designing its recently announced 10-point program, which prominently features emphasis on EIPH research. So I am confident that the scientific community is poised to provide some significant answers, from these current projects and continuing research.”

Larry Bramlage, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, a member of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation board and AAEP Racing Committee, added, “Studying bleeders and non-bleeders in simulated races in tandem has never been done before.”

The two projects will employ similar approaches to test the indications from the preliminary studies and will use two different populations of horses. The projects will use one group of subjects that are active bleeders and one group that are not bleeding in comparable trials.

“Both will use horses on the treadmill, as well as actual racehorses on the track in simulated races out of the gate to gather data,” said Bramlage. “This covers the spectrum of controlled scientific data collection and real-life competition using Thoroughbred racehorses that are intended to continue racing after the projects are completed. Researchers on both projects will collect physiologic and pharmacologic data.”

Stressing that the research is not narrowly looking at only one question, Bramlage said “these projects present an exceptional opportunity to understand more about EIPH than we have ever known.”

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation’s leading source of private funding for equine medical research that benefits all breeds of horses. Since 1983, the foundation has provided more than $22 million to fund 322 projects at 41 universities in North America and overseas.

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