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Re: [RC] claming agents that won't test positive, know any? - Heidi Smith

>The half life of bute is 12 hours. So in 48 hours if you gave them a gram you would have 1/16th of that remaining. I suspect that 1/16 of a gram of bute has very little pharmacological value since when I have to use it (the west nile episode last fall was one) my vet said every 12 hours. If I can remember the document I downloaded from the AERC web site recommended 96 hours - just "to be safe."
I agree that the levels at that point are not pharmacologically significant.  But the rule says that equines shall not have "any evidence" of such substances.  A fraction is still "evidence" that the substance is there. 
I think the 96-hour thing is plenty for the nutroceuticals--the joint supplements, etc.--since you only have to be competing on the normal levels in feedstuffs.  But with drugs like Bute, no, 96 hours isn't long enough to "not test" at all.  And I'd also question why a horse would have been on bute only 96 hours before a race anyway--if he needed it, he likely doesn't need to be going back out yet.  Sure, the pharmacological effect is gone--but is the body better enough to do 50+ miles without exacerbating the original problem?  And it is for that reason that I really appreciate our "no drugs" philosophy in this sport.
I had a personal "confrontation" with the no-drug concept this past weekend.  My horse is sensitive to staph allergies from nicks and dings.  His new splint boots didn't arrive in time for Steph's 3-day ride.  He got some nicks and dings on Day 1.  One leg had edema in it on Day 2, but he was sound, and I knew that riding would help the edema.  It did.  But I put some heavy felt splint boots on him at the vet check, because we were going back into more rocks.  Big mistake--that just helped the smouldering bugs get a better foothold, and caused a more severe reaction after the boots came off.  We could have ionized his leg, or put a medicated poultice on it, and had a sound horse that could have safely traveled.  But those are not legal options.  We tried ice--it didn't address the problem.  So I didn't go on Day 3.  Period.  I "treated" my horse during Day 3 instead with a medicated wrap--and solved the problem in a matter of hours.  Sure, I could have cheated and put that on him right after Day 2, washed it all off in the morning, and I have no doubt that I could have gotten him through Day 3 sound that way (aside from the fact that I had <shudder> actually committed the sin-according-to-Howard and TALKED to the ride vets--God forbid--so they knew exactly what the score was)--and not have caused any damage to my horse, either.  (Never mind that gee, poultices are just "herbal"--and they don't "enhance" his performance...)  But that not only would have been a rule violation--it also isn't in the fair nature of this sport or in my personal code of ethics.  If I had to help him in that way, he didn't need to be out there the next day.  Period.  There are other weekends, and other multidays, and we'll be back next time better prepared to prevent the problem to begin with, instead of trying to find a gimmick to get us past our error.