by: Equine Disease Quarterly
July 17 2008, Article # 12306
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USEF Drugs and Medications Guidelines - download pdf
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is the national governing body for equestrian sport and is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USEF is responsible for enforcing the rules of 27 breeds and disciplines. Formerly this organization was known as the American Horse Shows Association (AHSA). The name may have changed, but the mission of its Equine Drugs and Medications Program has stayed the same since the program's inception in 1970.
Over the past 38 years, the Equine Drugs and Medications Program has worked to protect the welfare of equine athletes and ensure the balance of competition. Currently, the program utilizes veterinarians and technicians around the country to collect blood and urine samples from horses competing at USEF events.
The USEF also contracts with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to enforce the AQHA'S drug rules by collecting samples at Quarter Horse competitions for analysis. Additionally, the USEF is responsible for testing competitions throughout the United States that are operated under the rules of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sport headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In 2007, almost 17,000 blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed by the program, representing nearly 13,000 horses randomly selected for testing. Since 1995, the USEF has operated its own equine drug testing and research laboratory.
Drugs and medications are classified by the USEF's Drugs and Medications Rule as being permitted, restricted, or forbidden.
Permitted substances include dewormers, antibiotics (except procaine penicillin), anti-fungals, antiprotozoals, vitamins, electrolytes, and anti-ulcer medications. Caution is urged if one is using so-called herbal or natural products, since plants are commonly the source for pharmacologically potent, forbidden substances such as cocaine, reserpine, and marijuana.
Restricted medications include specific non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), methocarbamol (muscle relaxant), and dexamethasone (corticosteroid). Restricted drugs are allowed to be present in the horse at the time of competition provided they do not exceed the levels specifically set for each drug.
Currently, no more than two approved NSAIDs are permitted in a horse's system at the same time, as long as neither is found in excess of respective restrictive levels. One exception to this regulation is flunixin and phenylbutazone, which are not permitted in a horse at the same time. A seven-day withdrawal from one of these two NSAIDs is recommended before initiating treatment with the other. In addition to flunixin and phenylbutazone, other NSAIDs that are allowed below restrictive levels include: naproxen (Naprosyn), meclofenamic acid (Arquel), firocoxib (Equioxx), diclofenac (Surpass), and ketoprofen (Ketofen).
Very specific dose and time recommendations are published for all restricted medications to aid competitors, trainers, and veterinarians in maintaining compliance with the USEF's drug rules.
Forbidden medications and substances include those that may affect the cardiovascular, respiratory, or central nervous system or have a behavior-altering affect. This includes any stimulant, depressant, tranquilizer, local anesthetic, psychotropic substance, or drug that might affect the performance of a horse and/or pony, including corticosteroids and analgesics. Some forbidden medications may be used for legitimate emergency treatment if proper steps are taken.
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