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USPA MEDICATION TESTING PROGRAM GUIDELINES

May 09, 2022 9:36 PM

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Horse Headshot. ©David Lominska
©David Lominska

The USPA began testing horses for prohibited medications in 2011. The testing program was initially based on the testing program used by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the USPA used USEF Testing Veterinarians to collect samples as well as the USEF Laboratory to process samples. In 2018, the USPA Board of Governors decided to create an in-house testing program, with all samples being processed by an independent laboratory. At that time the Equine Drugs and Medications Rules were revised. The most significant changes to the rules concerned the testing process.

Who can be tested?
Any Event (USPA Event, Club Event or USPA-Supported Activity) can be selected for testing. Once an Event is selected, all players participating are subject to having their horses tested.

Who is responsible?
Both the Owner and Player are defined as the “Responsible Party” by the USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Rules (EDMR). This means that even if you lease a horse, you could be held responsible for a positive test.

How does testing work?
The USPA designates one or two licensed veterinarian(s) to take samples from horses being played in the Event selected. An hour prior to the game, a USPA Representative, the Sampling Veterinarian(s) and the technician(s) will meet with the teams and explain the testing process and answer any questions. After the meeting, the USPA Representative will randomly select which players’ horse(s) will be tested.

At least one horse will be selected from each period of the game. A minimum of eight horses must be selected in a six-period game and a minimum of six horses mustl be selected from a four-period game.

The USPA reserves the right to choose a specific horse or horses, such as a lame or injured horse, in addition to the randomly selected horses. During the game, the Sampling Veterinarian(s) and technician(s) will identify the selected horses by taking photos and creating written descriptions. They also inform the groom that the selected horse will need to be brought to the specified testing location after the game.

At the end of the game, all horses selected are required to come to the testing location to have three vials of blood collected. The tubes are then marked with a pre-printed barcode and sample number that corresponds to the paperwork. The owner, player or a designated representative must accompany each horse and sign as a witness to the sample collection.

How long does it take to get results?
Results typically take less than two weeks. Samples are sent to the laboratory as soon as possible after they are collected. Samples are packed in a locked cooler and shipped to the laboratory. Once received, they are unpacked and tested. If a positive test occurs, the laboratory alerts the USPA. The USPA then contacts the owner or player (or both), who are charged with an EDMR violation.

Designated Representative?
The person who brings the horse to the designated testing area will be the one signing as witness to the testing process. This person can be the player, owner, groom, or any individual trusted by the owner and/or player to act as witness.

Are some medications allowed?
Players should review the USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Rules to become familiar with the Permitted and Restricted Medications lists. Permitted Medications are allowed at any time. Restricted Medications are only allowed up to a certain level and there is a chart in the rules which provides the latest administration time that the medication can be given prior to a game. If a test shows a Restricted Medication is present at over the allowable blood level, it will be treated as a positive test.

Are some medications banned?
All medications that are not listed as Permitted or Restricted are prohibited. These types of medications include tranquilizers, anabolic steroids, corticosteroids without an approved Medication Report Form, antihistamines, and respiratory drugs.

Therapeutic Drug Use
There are certain situations that allow for immediate medical attention within the 24-hour period before a game. These include minor injuries, colic or other non-lameness-related conditions. In case one of these situations occurs, a licensed veterinarian can submit the USPA Medication Report Form to alert the USPA that they have administered certain medications which may then be present in a tested sample and verify that the horse is still in a safe condition for playing. The USPA Medication Report form is not a “free pass.” If a positive test occurs, it will be used to assess whether a violation has occurred.

What is the consequence of a positive test?
An alleged EDMR violation may be contested if the Responsible Party feels there is some reason for error. The Responsible Party may request that the B Sample held at the lab be tested by either the USPA Designated Lab or another qualified lab. If the B Sample is also confirmed positive, the alleged violation will be processed under the EDMR Violation Procedures, which include the possibility of a hearing, and penalties that include probation, suspension, and fines.

A Responsible Party found guilty of an EDMR violation may be retroactively disqualified from any Association game or tournament. For a third violation, a Responsible Party may be expelled from the USPA either temporarily or permanently. Any violations, including findings, conclusions, rulings, recommendations and/or penalties, may be published by the USPA to its Member Clubs.

Pony Line. ©David Lominska
©David Lominska

USPA EQUINE DRUGS & MEDICATIONS SUMMARY

PERMITTED MEDICATIONS

1. Antibiotics, antiprotozoals
2. Dewormers
3. Hormonal therapies in mares (e.g. Regumate®, altrenogest)
4. Anti-Ulcer medications (e.g. Gastrogard®/ Ulcergard®, Cimetidine, Ranitidine)
5. Anti-arthritic medications (e.g. Adequan®, Legend®)
6. Navicular Syndrome management medications
- Salicylic Acid (Aspirin)
- Isoxuprine
- Bisphosphonates (e.g. Tildren®, OsPhos®)

*Bisphosphonates are not to be used in horses under five years of age.

RESTRICTED USE MEDICATIONS

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory (NSAID) *only one NSAID is permitted at a time *
Diclofenac (Surpass®)
Firocoxib (EquioXX®)
Phenylbutazone (Butazolidin®)
Flunixin Meglumine (Banamine®)
Ketoprofen (Ketofen®)
Meclofenamic Acid (Arquel®)
Naproxen (Naprosyn®)

Muscle Relaxant
Methocarbamol (Robaxin®)

Corticosteroids
Dexamethsone (Azlum®)
Prednisolone*
Betamethasone*
Isoflupredone*
Methylprednisolone*
Triamcinolone acetate*

*These corticosteroids require submission of a USPA Medication Report Form according to Rule 4.4

PROHIBITED DRUGS AND SUBSTANCES

**All medications not specifically permitted or restricted by these Rules are considered prohibited - Rule 3.1
Examples of common prohibited substances are listed below**

Long-acting Tranquilizers and Psychotropics
Fluphenazine
Reserpine

Anabolic Steroids
Boldenone
Nandrolone
Stanozolol
Testosterone

Short-acting Tranquilizers and Sedatives
Acepromazine
Romifidine
Detomidine
Xylazine

Local Anesthetics
Lidocaine
Mepivacaine

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
2 or more at once prohibited

Antihistamines
Cyproheptadine
Pyrilamine

Respiratory Drugs
Albuterol
Ventipulmin

USPA

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