This is interesting:
Gov. Ernie Fletcher could sign an emergency regulation as early as this
week that would drastically tighten Kentucky's drug policy for racehorses and
establish sanctions for breaking the rules.
It will limit race-day medications for horses to anti-bleeding drugs. Whitaker said any regulation signed by Fletcher would include a starting date. That could be critical to trainers readying horses at Ellis Park in Henderson, the only Kentucky thoroughbred track running, because the new rules change the times when certain drugs can be administered.
Under the policy endorsed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, a horse may receive Salix, the anti-bleeder formerly called Lasix, up to four hours before post
time. Two other anti-bleeder medications can also be given on race day. Current Kentucky rules allow three anti-inflammatory drugs on race day in addition to Salix and another anti-bleeder. The new policy permits only one anti-inflammatory, and requires it to be injected more than 24 hours before post time.
Most horse people have given Bute (often called "horse aspirin") to their horses for one reason or another, just as most people have taken aspirin themselves.
I know a lot of people that use bute on healthy horses prior to competition, just as human atheletes may take an aspirin. It's not a big deal, and most vets recommend it. This law would make it so any anti-inflammitory drugs have to be given at least 24 hrs before competition-- which is often what many people do with bute anyway.
Lasix is a diuretic drug that is used to prevent lung bleeding in horses during competition. It works by making the horse urinate, which thickens the blood to reduce lung bleeding. Some horses-- and some people-- will have lungs that bleed during exercise. Since it is a diuretic, horses need to be given plenty of water after having lasix, to preven dehydration.
However, from what I've read, lasix can be abused by giving large amounts to racehorses in order to make them urinate, which can make them loose a lot of water weight and help them to run faster. I have no idea if, or how, this works, but it can't be good for a horse's health.
The proposed new rules are intended to address any confusion and bring Kentucky into line with other states. Supporters of a uniform national standard contend that years of medication may have weakened the breed. They argue that creating a consistent drug policy would give bettors an even playing field, because medication rules would be consistent across state lines. People who support the current policy said that allowing multiple anti-inflammatory agents on race day is humane, equating those drugs to painkillers taken by human athletes. Kentucky is among 25 states that have adopted or are adopting the model drug rules developed by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, said Dan Fick, the group's chairman and executive director of The Jockey Club.