Ontario Racing Commission Expands Clenbuterol Testing

July 14, 2011


Starting August 15, testing for clenbuterol in Ontario Quarter Horse racing is expanding to include a 30-day withdrawal period and lower threshold levels, according to a release by Ontario Racing Commission Deputy Director Rob McKinney. The goal of the initiative is to eliminate any abuse, overuse, or non-therapeutic use of this drug, and when used, to confirm that the drug has been legally obtained and correctly administered.

This expansion by the Ontario Racing Commission will complement the existing efforts of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, which has included clenbuterol in its testing protocol for over 20 years. This new initiative is a result of concerns brought forward by the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. regarding alleged misuse of this therapeutic drug and the health and safety of the horse.

On June 16th, the ORC announced the first phase of this project involving random out-of-competition testing for the presence of the drug. ORC investigators will continue to inquire as to the use of clenbuterol and then examine the records of the trainer and veterinarian.

Under this new phase, a 30-day clenbuterol withdrawal period for a horse competing in a race and minimum threshold are: 200 picograms per milliliter (pg/ml) or less in urine and 1–2 picograms per milliliter (pg/ml) in blood.

A directive authorizing this phase of the project is under development, but it is anticipated that the regulatory action for confirmed presence of clenbuterol will include:

• Disqualification of the horse from the race;
• Return and redistribution of all earnings from that race;
• Horse made ineligible to race until owner produces a negative test result; and the ORC investigation is complete.

Clenbuterol is a bronchial dilator sold under the name Ventipulmin (trademark of Boehringer
Ingelheim Vetmedica) as an injectable suspension and oral syrup to treat breathing disorders.