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Therapeutic Medication Fact Sheet

Get the facts on AQHA's rules regarding the administration of therapeutic medications.

Since January 1, 1999, AQHA has allowed the use of some medications under a very stringent set of conditions as defined by the addendum to Rule VIO400 of the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations. Refer to the AQHA Handbook for a complete copy of the addendum.

This change was passed at the 1998 AQHA Convention. It was the feeling of the appropriate committees and the Board of Directors that the rule would:

  • Be in the best interest of the American Quarter Horse.
  • Be more in line with AQHA's statement of position regarding the welfare and humane treatment of the American Quarter Horse.
  • Help owners and exhibitors avoid disciplinary action for inadvertently violating our previous "no presence" rule due to improved testing technology which allows detection of minute amounts of a drug in a horse's system even though those amounts can have no clinical effect on the horse.

No drug listed in Class I or II of ARCI's Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, Revised Edition, February 14, 1995 is ever allowed under any circumstance. These drugs are primarily hard narcotics and have no therapeutic use in the horse.

Administration of substances you have commonly used in the past such as vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, wormers, hormones, etc. do not require a medication report to be filed as long as they contain no forbidden substance.

Other drugs and medications used for therapeutic purposes may be given under a very stringent set of conditions. Part of those conditions are the filing of a medication report and the horse being withdrawn or kept out of competition for a minimum of 24 hours. The administration of a conditionally permitted therapeutic medication for the purpose of transport, grooming, training, etc., is not therapeutic under this authorization rule.

Phenylbutazone, Diclofenac (Surpass), Flunixin, Ketoprofen, Meclofenamic Acid, Naproxen, Eltenac (PENDING FDA APPROVAL. See AQHA Handbook) and Dexamethasone may be given without withholding the horse from competition for 24 hours so long as the level of the drug does not exceed the maximum allowable plasma level as stated in the addendum.

Other drugs which are allowed to be administered on show day are Lasix, Acetazolamide and Isoxsuprine. Lidocaine or Mepivicaine are allowed if administered under the direct observation of show management and/or the official show veterinarian for the purpose of surgical repair of a minor skin laceration which, by their very nature, would not prevent the horse from competing following the surgery.

Section 2(a) of the addendum requires medications to be administered or prescribed by a veterinarian who is a member in good standing of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the state where the event is being held. The veterinarian must sign the medication report form, or if by prescription, must attach a copy of the prescription (written instructions for use) to the report form. AAEP membership can be confirmed by calling them at 606-233-0147.

The twelve (12) medications listed under section 3(A) of the addendum do not require diagnosis of illness or injury or filing of a medication report form, except for the use of Lidocaine or Mepivicaine, when a report form must be filed and administration witnessed by show management.

Medication report forms may be obtained by calling our office at (806) 376-4811. Forms will also be available from show management.

Completed medication reports must be filed with show management who will forward all forms to AQHA with their show results.

Presence of any drug or medication, including those allowed by this addendum, shall constitute a positive test if a properly completed medication report for is not filed. A form is not required for Phenylbutazone, Diclofenac (Surpass), Flunixin, Ketoprofen, Meclofenamic Acid, Naproxen, Eltenac (Pending FDA Approval. See AQHA Handbook for rule), Acetazolamide, Furosemide or Lasix, Isoxsuprine and Dexamethasone.

Questions concerning particular drugs, dosages, clearance times, etc. should be directed to the United States Equestrian Federation at (800) 633-2472. In Canada, call (614) 771-7707.