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Important Changes to the USEF Therapeutic Drug Rule Regarding NSAIDs Become Effective April 1, 2010

RELEASE: March 11, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: From the USEF Equine Drugs and Medication Program

At this year’s USEF Annual Meeting held January 13-17, 2010, an important rule change was approved affecting the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in competition horses. Over the years, ongoing veterinary research has revealed that not only is there little or no benefit to administering more than one NSAID to a horse for most medical concerns, it can actually cause potentially harmful, even severe side effects.

Motivated by its commitment to the welfare of the horse, the USEF Board of Directors voted to amend its Therapeutic Drug Rule and restrict use to a single NSAID beginning December 1, 2011. Both the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) support the rule change, and USEF joins other organizations including the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Equine Canada in making this important rule change.

While the presence of two of the seven approved and quantitatively restricted NSAIDs in a horse will still be allowed prior to December 2011 (with the exception of the forbidden combination of phenylbutazone “Bute,” and flunixin meglumine [Banamine®]), it is important to note that new restrictions are in place concerning their use. Beginning April, 1, 2010, anyone administering two NSAIDs to a horse within five days prior to participating at a USEF-licensed competition will be required to complete and file a NSAID Disclosure Form with the USEF Steward/Technical Delegate or their Designated Competition Office Representative. This form will allow the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program to collect valuable data regarding the use of NSAIDs in competition horses.

USEF has developed an education plan to guide management, owners, trainers, and exhibitors through the implementation of this rule change. The Federation has published an informational pamphlet and created the NSAID Disclosure Form. Both the pamphlet and the forms will be shipped to all Competition Managers for distribution from their competition offices. Additionally, both the form and the pamphlet are immediately available online at: www.usef.org/documents/drugsMeds/NSAIDDisclosureForm.pdf and here.

It is the responsibility of the competitor and their veterinarian to make certain the use of two NSAIDs within five days of competing is reported on the NSAID Disclosure Form and is properly filed with the USEF Steward/Technical Delegate or their Designated Competition Office Representative. It is important to note that a standard USEF Medication Report Form may not be used in this particular instance.

It is the responsibility of USEF Stewards/Technical Delegates to collect the NSAID Disclosure Form and submit it to the Federation Office in Lexington, Kentucky. The Steward or Technical Delegate may designate a person in the competition office to act as their representative and accept the NSAID Disclosure Form. The Designated Competition Office Representative must be a Federation Senior Member and an office staff person mutually agreed upon by the Competition Management and Competition Steward/Technical Delegate. The Designated Competition Office Representative will be responsible for collecting, dating, signing, and issuing receipt for all the NSAID Disclosure Forms submitted, but it is the Steward’s/Technical Delegate’s sole responsibility to inspect and return all the NSAID Disclosure Forms to the Federation Office in Lexington, Kentucky.

Effective April 1, 2010, and until December 1, 2011, if the use of two NSAIDs is detected in sample(s) collected, and a NSAID Disclosure Form has not been filed appropriately, the competitor will receive a letter of finding from the USEF Regulations Department. For the first offense a warning letter will be issued. The second violation may result in sanctions against the competitor.

For additional information and veterinary literature regarding NSAID use and the change to the USEF rule concerning their use, visit: www.usef.org/_IFrames/Drugs/NSAID.aspx.

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