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DISCUSSION OF REGULATION AND TESTING ON DAY 2 OF 2019 REGULATORY VETERINARIAN CONTINUING EDUCATION CONFERENCE

An emphasis on regulating medication and developing enforcement strategies marked the second and final day of the Regulatory Veterinarian Continuing Education conference (#RegVetCE19) presented by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety & Integrity Alliance at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., March 4-5.

The morning was highlighted by an informative panel on U.S. and international out-of-competition testing strategies. Dr. Rick Arthur of the California Horse Racing Board, Dr. Tessa Muir of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Dr. Izzy Trejo of the New Mexico Racing Commission covered subjects such as hair testing and the scope of substances that should be included when performing out-of-competition testing.

Testing matters were further discussed in a talk by UC Davis’s Dr. Ashley Hill on scientific threshold level development and the 95/95 threshold interval, and on a later panel that focused on laboratory issues including sample turnaround logistics and unknown substances. The panel was led by Dr. Lynn Hovda of the Minnesota Horse Racing Commission and featured representatives of RMTC-Accredited testing laboratories, Dr. Anthony Fontana of Truesdail Laboratories and Petra Hartmann of Industrial Laboratories.

Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, presented on the purpose and philosophy behind therapeutic medication regulations, and regulating substances present in the racehorse’s environment.

Afternoon sessions included a talk led by Zoetis’s Dr. Kenton Morgan on adulterated substances, compounded and illegal new medications, misbranding and mislabeling.

The event concluded with a detailed comparison of U.S. and international medication regulations. This discussion featured BHA’s Dr. Muir, RMTC Executive Director and COO Dr. Dionne Benson, and RMTC Chair and NTRA President Alex Waldrop.

“[RegVetCE] was a great reminder that we are here for the welfare of the horse, first and foremost,” stated Meredith A. Steudle, DVM of the New Jersey Racing Commission. “The networking that is created during conferences like this helps us develop strategies to do our job better.”

The sold-out event, which attracted more than 60 regulatory and official racetrack veterinarians from 20 states and six countries (and covering almost 50 North American racetracks), was organized by RMTC’s Dr. Benson and Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.

“The 2019 Regulatory Veterinarian CE conference marked another successful event, which is evidenced by the group of attendees and significant industry support,” said Dr. Robert O’Neil, director of equine health and safety for The Stronach Group. “Our sport’s equine athletes will certainly benefit from the support that continuing education provides veterinarians in the field – from developing their networks and skill sets to expanding access to critical resources. This annual gathering has become the gold standard in training regulatory veterinarians.”

Koch added, “Industry support is a critical component of the RegVetCE’s continued success. Gulfstream Park has generously supported RegVetCE, both financially and as a first-class event host, and we are grateful to The Stronach Group for their leadership on this project.” “The event’s financial supporters are crucial to ensuring that we continue to provide a robust program.”

Koch continued, “We are also grateful to the racing commissions and racetrack operators for enabling the travel and participation of their regulatory veterinarians, and to our U.S. and international panelists, who provided highly thoughtful, scientific content.”

The Regulatory/Official Veterinarian CE is made possible through the generous support of The Stronach Group, Keeneland Association, RMTC, NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, New York Racing Association, ALS-Truesdail, Industrial Laboratories, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Quarter Horse Association, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, The Jockey Club, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Oak Tree Racing Association, Ohio HBPA, Remington Park Racing and Casino, and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.

For an overview of all topics covered over the two-day conference, visit ntra.com/reg-vet-ce/.

The RMTC consists of 23 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.

The NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance is a standing organization establishing standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horseracing and to secure their implementation. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Insurance Office of America and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.

For additional information, visit the RMTC website at rmtcnet.com or contact Hallie Lewis, RMTC communications and development consultant, at (859) 759-4081.

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RMTC APPROVES OVER $250,000 IN TACTICAL RESEARCH PROJECTS

At its February 11 meeting at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board approved the funding of two tactical research projects with a combined price tag in excess of $250,000, as a continuation of its ongoing focus on detecting and eliminating illicit substances in racing.

First, the RMTC is seeking to develop an inexpensive screening method for the detection of potential blood doping. The proposed project, if successful, will provide racing laboratories with a relatively inexpensive method of detecting nefarious administrations of EPO and related blood doping agents by detecting changes in the horse’s blood. The goal is to detect many more EPO substances at much lower concentrations than previously achieved. The project goes hand-in-hand with another tactical research project, funded by RMTC in 2017, that has already improved detection of many common EPO products exponentially. Both EPO-related projects are being completed at the University of California-Davis Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory.

“We are very excited about the potential of these advanced testing techniques to detect EPO administration,” said Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director for the California Horse Racing Board. “With the 2017 RMTC grant, the Maddy lab has already greatly improved the industry’s EPO confirmation capabilities. Our expectations are that this second grant will enable the industry to close the circle and allow us to more effectively detect EPO micro-dosing.”

The second tactical research project will be completed at the University of Florida Racing Laboratory and will be focused on the detection of the nerve-blocking agent known as liposomal bupivacaine. When misused, this drug has the potential to last for several days and evade detection in the laboratory. The goal of the project will be to determine how long these products last in the horse and to develop methods to detect and identify them in post-race testing.

“The RMTC is excited to be spearheading efforts to fight the abuse of this nerve-blocking agent on the racetrack,” said RMTC Chair Alex Waldrop. “Each of the projects approved by the RMTC board this week represents significant advances that will benefit horse health as well as the integrity of racing. We anticipate no problem finding racing stakeholders who will help us fund them.”

Additionally, the RMTC board heard an update regarding the detection of LGD-4300 – one of the substances known as SARMS. LGD-4300 creates anabolic-like effects in the horse.

“Preliminary results indicate that this research, funded by the RMTC as part of last year’s tactical research efforts, could lead to a broader method to control all anabolic-like substances in the horse,” said Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director of the RMTC. “The RMTC’s support of this and so many other tactical research projects is exciting, because each of them is crucial to the long-term health and vitality of horse racing.

The RMTC board also created a subcommittee to study and develop potential research projects to address bisphosphonates, as very little is known about the effects of these drugs on young, exercised, racing horses. Among the first items to come from this committee will be an educational pamphlet available in the next few months.

RMTC board members also approved educational materials on the risks of compounded medication, nutraceuticals and cannabidiol (CBD). A bulletin on CBD is available on the Tactical Research page of the RMTC website, where the other pamphlets will be posted soon.

The RMTC consists of 23 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.

For additional information, visit the RMTC website at rmtcnet.com or contact Hallie Lewis, RMTC communications and development consultant, at (859) 759-4081.

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Study Suggests Need For Another Revision To Uniform Drug Guidelines

by | 09.14.2017 | 12:48pm

Recommended withdrawal guidelines for detomidine, commercially known as Dormosedan, may face review after a recent study suggested horses could test positive while adhering to the guidelines. The current guideline from the Racing Medication Testing Consortium suggests the threshold for a positive be set at 2ng/ml in urine and 1 ngl/ml in blood, with the recommended withdrawal for a 5 mg intravenous dose set at 48 hours.

Detomidine is a relatively short-acting sedative with some analgesic properties and may be used to reduce stress during medical procedures or travel, or in hospital settings.

Recently, the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council funded a study to examine the behavior of a 20 mg dose (given intravenously or intramuscularly), which some veterinarians say is also used in the field, depending upon the situation.

For tests of the drug using a blood sample, a 20 mg dose was well below the recommended threshold by 48 hours post-administration; in some cases the drug was almost undetectable. In the case of urine tests for detomidine however, several samples were over the threshold at 48 hours.

 

 

Unfortunately, the study was designed to stop at 48 hours post-administration, and therefore did not shed light on whether extending the window to 72 hours would be sufficient to avoid accidental positive tests.

“The dose that was investigated initially was a 5 mg dose. A lot of our veterinarians use a 5 mg dose. Dr. [Andy] Roberts and some other veterinarians wanted to know if they could use a 20 mg dose. It’s going to give a bigger effect,” he said. “Very few of these substances that affect the central nervous system have a dose that’s fixed. It’s a dose range, and I think it’s a legitimate question on Dr. Roberts’ part about using that 20 mg dose.”

Sams, who is a member of the RMTC’s Scientific Advisory Committee, said these types of revisions are to be expected as more information comes to light about different drugs and their behavior in horses. Unfortunately, there is a disparity between the public’s thirst for uniform regulations and the amount of time (and money) it takes to complete studies like this one, which ultimately highlights the need for more research.

“The process was moving very slowly years ago and the RMTC came under enormous pressure to move forward and have thresholds for all of these substances that veterinarians had identified. The future of the RMTC, I think, was on the line at that point,” Sams remembered. “We made some less-than-optimal choices with regard to doses, but veterinarians were involved in every step of the way.”

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