Dr. Jeff Berk, President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, issued the following statement Friday afternoon in response to the announcement earlier this week that the three major U.S. sales companies will offer buyers the choice to test purchases for bisphosphonates and rescind sales for positive tests:
“The American Association of Equine Practitioners endorses the decision made by the Keeneland Association, Fasig-Tipton and Ocala Breeders' Sales Company to offer post-sale bisphosphonate testing on horses under four years of age. This is one facet of what we hope will be a multi-pronged effort within the Thoroughbred industry to address the misuse of these drugs in young horses.
“Additionally, it should be remembered that bisphosphonates have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for therapeutic use in horses for certain conditions. It is the misuse of these products that is in question, not the drugs themselves.
“While addressing this issue, it is important to remember that we do not know the extent of the use of these products in young horses and do not wish to impugn the integrity of an entire industry based upon anecdotal information.
The AAEP supports the use the FDA-approved bisphosphonate products according to manufacturer labeling and does not condone their use in horses under the age of four.”