At its March 19 meeting in Baltimore, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors adopted recommendations for thresholds and withdrawal times for four therapeutic medications identified by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI). The recommendations were for procaine penicillin, lidocaine, detomidine and xylazine.
While some of the recommendations were termed interim recommendations, the adoption of these thresholds and withdrawal times will enable the RCI to provide its members with a complete list for the 24 therapeutic medications identified by the RCI, RMTC and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
"The RMTC's approval of these last few thresholds and withdrawal times from the set of 24 therapeutic substances identified by the industry represents a significant investment of resources by the RMTC and its stakeholders, said RMTC Chairman Dr. Robert Lewis. "These guidelines will pave the way for uniform adoption of medication regulations across the country.
The completion of this list also coincides with the recent effort toward medication and testing uniformity undertaken in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states.
"The adoption of these final thresholds is a key step that will enable RCI to enact the Controlled Therapeutic Substances List, which will then enable the participating states to begin the adoption and implementation process, stated RMTC Vice Chairman and Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Chairman Alan Foreman, Esq.
In addition to the four therapeutic substances identified, the RMTC board also approved secondary thresholds for two non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) phenylbutazone and flunixin meglumine. A secondary threshold is the permissible level for a second medication where there are two medications of the same type (here phenylbutazone, flunixin or ketoprofen). The primary threshold no longer applies to the second NSAID found in a sample. Instead, a lower secondary threshold applies to the second medication.
The secondary thresholds were adopted in response to concerns over administration of multiple NSAIDs within 48 hours of racing a practice known as stacking.
"The administration of multiple NSAIDs is a welfare and safety concern for our equine and human athletes, said Dr. Rick Arthur, RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee Chair and California's Equine Medical Director. "The adoption of secondary thresholds will avoid the administration of phenylbutazone and flunixin in combination within 48 hours of racing.
The RMTC board also addressed a number of important issues including therapeutic medications, laboratory accreditation, and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's Equine Drug Research Council's (EDRC) request to join the RMTC board. Among the other highlights were a presentation from an RMTC-sponsored research fellow and a discussion of penalty guidelines for medication violations.
"The RMTC and ARCI have expended significant resources for medication research and laboratory accreditation, said RMTC board member and National Thoroughbred Racing Association President and CEO Alex Waldrop. "Penalties for violations are all that remain to be addressed and the RMTC stands ready to assist the RCI in finalizing these important deterrents.
The RMTC consists of 24 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public. (RMTC)