American Association of Equine Practitioners president Dr. Jeff Berk issued the following statement Friday in response to the announcement that a coalition of U.S. racetracks will phase out the use of furosemide (Lasix):
“Horse racing in the U.S. faces significant challenges to its long-term health. The leadership of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) reviews with interest the announcement by a cohort of Thoroughbred racing organizations that they will ban the use of furosemide in 2-year-old racing in 2020 and graded stakes races in 2021. The landscape is changing.
“As Doctors of Veterinary Medicine, science and evidence-based discovery is our foundation, and as such, the AAEP’s long-standing racehorse medication policy has supported the administration of furosemide on race day to mitigate the adverse effects of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH).
“The AAEP also is committed to funding research into alternative EIPH management strategies which would eliminate the need to administer furosemide on race day. The proposed phase-out of the medication’s use beginning at many Thoroughbred racetracks in 2020 emphasizes the urgent need for continued research into new methods for mitigating EIPH.
“Regarding the daily care of horses adversely affected by EIPH, the AAEP urges a strong partnership between owners, trainers and veterinarians in order to optimally manage the syndrome and make decisions in the best interest of the health and welfare of the horse.”