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It's a Drug.


An excerpt from the post of Michael Van Noy on APF said:

> As an equine veterinarian of more than 25
> years, I can state that these herbs exert a remarkable effect on the
> metabolism of the horse. 

Kathy Meyers said:

> Now that he's been on it for over 6 months, what I'm seeing is a horse
> that's turned from a young cute baby, into what appears to be a potential
> 100 mile monster.  I'm shooting for the Swanton 75 this summer, but
> every time I take him out on the trail, he's so energetic I swear he needs
> that 100 to calm him down and teach him to really get to work.
> ...
> APF has the little weasel horse is atleast thinking he's an eagle... don't
> tell him he's still just a little weasel.

I must confess that I find the combination of these statements to be a little 
scary.  If the assortment of assertions made by Micael Van Noy about APF are 
true, and the "one rat study" reported by Kathy Meyers have anything to do with 
having given APF to her horse, then there should be little doubt in anybody's 
mind that APF is a drug; and if the Kathy's final statement is accurate, not 
only does the drug have a physiological effect, but it appears it may also have 
a psychological effect (i.e. it is "mood altering").

Don't be fooled into thinking that just because it has an herbal origin, that 
it cannot be a drug.  Synthesizing drugs from non-herbal sources is a VERY 
twentieth century phenomenon.  Until that time, virtually all drugs were of 
herbal origin.  To list just a few: Heroine is a Chinese herbal extract; 
cocaine is a South American herbal extract; digitalis is an herbal extract from 
foxglove; aspirin is an herbal extract from willow bark; caffeine is an herbal 
extract from the coffee bean (that's where the "caf" in caffeine comes from).

I would be very careful before I decided to undertake a medications policy of 
systematically drugging an otherwise healthy horse.  Back in the 16th to 19th 
centuries people "dosed" themselves with laudanum (an extract of the opium 
poppy) for the very same reasons.  It was a Chinese herbal extract that made 
them feel good.  Today people dose themselves with cocaine for similar reasons, 
it is a nice "pick me up."  Medically/physiologically speaking, there is no 
difference.  The difference is merely social/cultural.  

If Michael Van Noy's assertions about the metabolic effects of APF on horses is 
true (and if they aren't they why use it at all), then the stuff has a 
pharmacological effect and it is a drug (and like many drugs, it may have some 
great benefits in maintaining the health of a horse).

But if _I_ thought that the drug was having the effect of making my horse think 
that it is something that it is not (e.g. of making it think it can fly like an 
eagle when in reality it is as earthbound as a weasel), well...I knew a couple 
of people who were on LSD who thought they could fly too, and found out the 
hard way that they cannot ("knew" being the operative word here).

Even so, while Micheal Van Noy also said:

> Again, I have been using these herbs in horses since 1994 and began
> marketing this formulation in 2000, after careful study and a history of
> field use in my practice and the practice of other veterinarians.  Every
> batch of APF is tested at a FEI level lab to guarantee that it complies
> fully with all regulations and it is allowed by the medications rules of

Just because current drug tests do not test for metabolites of the chemical 
compounds contained the herbs that have the above stated pharmacological 
effects, there should be little doubt in anybody's mind (no matter how strict 
of a definition used for the term "drug"), that using APF on an endurance horse 
would be in violation of the AERC's rule 13 (despite the assertion that current 
drug tests would not pick it up, and therefore it is unlikely that anybody 
using it is likely to get caught).  The fact that it is allowed by the 
medications rules of the AHSA is of no consequence when determining if it is 
allowed by AERC rules.  The AHSA has gone to the trouble of making a list of 
forbidden medications...and, apparently, this medication is not on it.  That 
doesn't mean that it isn't a medication; there are lots of medications that are 
not on the AHSA's list.

At the same time Kathy Meyers also said:

> *If* I had tying up problems, this is definitely (sic) one of the first things
> I'd try.  I'd imagine you need to first have a good solid feeding schedule
> with a good quality vitamin / mineral supplement (mine are on Dynamite)
> and then definitely (sic) APF to help with problems such as tying-up and to
> put that little extra edge on your endurance horse.

If _I_ had tying up problems with one of my horses, this might also be my drug 
of choice for treating the pathological condition; but I wouldn't fool myself 
into thinking that I am doing anything other than drugging my horse.  If it 
doesn't have a pharmacological effect (treating the pathological medical 
condition of azotoria) then why would I be using it?

Make no mistake, if you are using this stuff on your horse and it is having any 
metabolic benefit, then you are treating your horse with a drug.  "I didn't 
know it was a drug, because I don't understand the pharmacology" is not a 
"defense" for drugging your horse; nor, I might add is, "It comes from a plant 
so it isn't a drug."

I make no comment as to whether this is a good or bad thing to be doing to/for 
your horse.

I merely wish to point out that it is a drug. And if I were going to use it on 
my horse, I would want to be sure that I had a good reason for giving my horse 
drugs.  In fact, I would do as Michael Van Noy suggests and consult my 
veterinarian.  Oh, yeah, and I wouldn't give it to my endurance horse, because 
it's against the rules.  (I also make no comment as to whether or not I think this 
is a good rule.)

Orange County, Calif.

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