With the clock ticking down towards year’s end — and the January 1 imposition of new medication rules — the Maryland Racing Commission has released a new booklet that walks horsemen through what medications are allowed and when.
Under the new rules, adopted earlier this year by the Maryland Racing Commission, though not without controversy, the only medication that can be administered to an animal within 24 hours of a race is furosemide (commonly known as Lasix). And that medication must be administered by a third-party veterinarian designated by the state Racing Commission and not practicing on the grounds, rather than the horse’s own vet. Moreover, the new rules prohibit the use of adjunct bleeder medications on race day.
Beyond race day, the new rules create what amount to two classes of medications: controlled and non-controlled. There are 24 medications on the controlled list, and all other drugs are prohibited. The new booklet lists all 24 of the allowed meds, along with their dosage, threshold level, and recommended withdrawal time.
So, for example, wondering about flunixin? Thumb to page 4, where you’ll find the info you need.
The booklet also notes that the withdrawal times can vary from horse to horse, so that, for example, horses smaller than 1,000 pounds may need to receive smaller doses or be withdrawn from the medication earlier.
Because the states in the mid-Atlantic have all adopted the new medication guidelines, it is expected that other states’ guidelines and advice will be substantially similar.
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