AAEP Releases Clinical Guidelines On Racehorse Care

A list of guidelines for racehorse care has been released by the AAEP.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners today released the document “Clinical Guidelines for Veterinarians Practicing in a Pari-Mutuel Environment.”

The guidelines, intended for veterinarians who treat racehorses, focus on the practice of administering medical treatment to a horse based on the entry date for its next race.

All medical treatment of the racehorses should be based upon a veterinary diagnosis with appropriate time allowed for an evaluation following treatment to ensure the horse is recovered before it races again, according to AAEP. However, the association noted that the entry date should not be the primary factor when evaluating a horse’s need for medical care.

“Our purpose is to reinforce sound medical principles within the unique environment of racing,” said Nat White, DVM, president of the AAEP. “As horse racing continues its pursuit of increased safety, we understand the need for us, as veterinarians, to examine our role in medication usage and medical treatment. These guidelines affirm the already excellent medical care provided by many veterinarians.”

In addition to medication, the guidelines address the use of therapies such as shockwave therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The document also contains recommendations for maintaining medical records and changing the current racetrack veterinary business model to one which bases billing on professional services rendered, rather than the dispensing or administration of medication.

Examples of “core recommendations” as found in the guidelines include:

  • All therapeutic treatments for a horse involved in racing or race training should be based upon a specific diagnosis and administered in the context of a valid and transparent owner-trainer-veterinarian relationship.
  • No medication should be administered to a horse on the day of the race, except furosemide, the administration of which is outlined specifically in the guidelines created by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.
  • The AAEP recommends that integrative therapies be based upon a valid medical diagnosis, be administered by or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian and be documented in the horse’s medical record.
  • All medical treatments and diagnostic procedures performed on horses in a racetrack or training center setting should be documented in a medical record.
  • The veterinarian should limit the use of compounded drugs to unique needs in specific patients and limit the use of compounded drugs to those uses for which a physiological response to therapy or systemic drug concentrations can be monitored, or those for which no other method or route of drug delivery is practical.

The complete document can be viewed by clicking here.

The guidelines, which were developed by the AAEP Racing Committee, will be updated as new research arises, according to AAEP.


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