Check it Out!
Re: Legal Remedies and Herbs
To all questioning the Drug Rule I offer the following written by the
President of the AERC who is a Vet and sometime competitor.
AERC Drug Policy
Here goes something for which I will probably be sorry later. There have
been several posts about the AERC drug policy that only Truman has
addressed (and a good job too -- thanks). Since I had a small part in the
formulation of this policy, perhaps I should "cowboy up" and try to shed
some light (and not some heat) on this controversial subject.
Most of us can agree that a substance like phenybutazone is a drug -- that
it is an analgesic (pain killer) and a NSAID (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory
drug). Most will agree that it should not be used in competition to mask
pain in horses so that it can continue to perform.
After this collusion of opinion on substances like "bute", agreement and
understanding of what is a drug and what we should do about them
The response to the discussion of drugs becomes analogous to the response
of a group of parishioners to the sermons of a new pastor. In the Ozark
hills where I live, a large number of the local congregation made a
significant contribution to their income (but not to the federal tax
collector) by fermenting local grains into "moonshine".
In the pastor's first sermon, he condemned stealing and the congregation
responded with shouts of "Amen". He then proceeded to decry the practice of
fornication which resulted in shouts of "Hallelujah and Praise the Lord".
He began to finish the sermon with a condemnation of the evils of strong
drink -- for which he was received with silence. One of the deacons of the
church turned to another and said, "The parson has stopped preaching and
has started meddling." And, so it seems to be with any discourse on drugs
and drug policy.
Much confusion seems to have been generated due to the lack of definition
as to what is a drug and what is a nutrient. A drug is a substance that has
a physiological effect THAT IS NOT A NUTRIENT. All nutrients are included
in one of six classes: water, carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins,
minerals. Certainly, nutrients have a physiological effect or we would not
be engaging in this discourse. Since AERC rule 13 addresses drugs, it by
definition is not intended to regulate nutrients. Therefore, please, let us
not muddy these waters concerning drugs by implying that the veterinary
committee of the AERC nor its Board of Directors wishes you to stop feeding
your horses (nor giving them electrolytes).
Some of the posts have requested a list of allowables and non-allowables
with withdrawals times for substances in each group. A complete list can
not be provided for it does not exist -- and if it did it would be out of
date tomorrow. The range of substances fed to horses to "enhance
performance" is too large and changes too rapidly. An incomplete list of
substances known to test has been provided when all of this was presented
to the membership of the AERC a few years ago. (another benefit of
belonging to the national organization representing our sport.)
Without question, the role that additives, herbs, and nutriceuticals play
creates our greatest migrains. Let me give you three examples.
In the late 19th century, an English midwife achieved some success in
treating people with "dropsy" (accumulation of fluid in the distal
extremities or body cavity due to congestive heart failure) with a tea made
from the leaves of the purple foxglove, a common member of the figwort
family. Many, many years later it was found that the purple foxglove
contained the drug, digitalis, which has provided for the effect of the
tea. Today, I have digitalis (digoxin/digitoxin) in liquid and pill form on
the shelf in my practice. Would you claim that the digitalis in the bottle
is a drug while the digitalis in the plant is only a herb?
Many of the nutriceuticals also cause us problems. Methyl Sulfonyl Methane
(MSM) is an antiinflammatory substance with properties similar to Dimethyl
Sufoxide (DMSO). It is licensed as a nutritional source of sulfur (a
mineral and therefore a nutrient) and not as a drug. Now, sulfur can be
bought of a nickel a pound while MSM costs twenty dollars a pound. I
propose that you are not feeding MSM to your horse because you feel it is
deficient in sulfur.
Lastly, before you run out of patience, let us consider water -- in its
solid form, ice. Running water and ice application are common ways in which
to cool horses or reduce acute swelling. If ice is applied longer and more
directly , it becomes a topical anesthetic which can mask local pain as
surely as lidocaine. Don't worry -- no one has advocated the elimination of
ice nor that you don't let your horse drink.
These examples are only a few that could be used to demonstrate the
complexity of the drug isssue. Yet, even for substances on which we can
agree are drugs, AERC policy and rules do not prohibit you from using them
to aid in the resolution of some affliction of your horse. Just do not use
them when they can affect the performance of your horse during competition.
These substances then may threaten the health and welfare of the horse
which is the primary concern of the AERC or they can unlevel the playing
field which can give one competitor an unfair advantage over another.
To this end the AERC prohibits the administration of abnormal substances
(bute, isoxuprine, anesthetics, stimulants, depressants, masking agents,
etc.) or normal substances in abnormal amounts (anabolic steroids,
glucocorticoids, dopamine, epenephrine, etc.) which may be detected during
Lastly, I would like to pose the question as to why anyone feels the need
to have any of these substances in their horse on ride day. If you claim
that you are not enhancing performance but are only trying to maintain
longevity, then you may be fooling the person in the mirror -- and your
horse -- more than you are fooling me.
I am sure this is not the end to the drug debate. If fact, it is not even
the beginning. I hope the noise to traffic ratio stays low.
Dane L. Frazier DVM
Do we really need more? Do you really need that so called "racers edge"?
Or are you all really kidding your selves that "Joe's speed powder " will
give you a win? Go back to the basics of plenty of good water, adequate
amounts of forage, access to salt and you can have a top competitive horse.
We have local, regional, national and international top placings on that
formula. If we can do it so can you. Can you accept the challenge to do it
with your horses?
Morris Endurance Enterprises
> From: Flemmer, Linda <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Cc: Ridecamp@endurance.net
> Subject: Re: Legal Remedies and Herbs
> Date: Tuesday, October 27, 1998 9:59 AM
> Robert Morris wrote:
> > Can't think of any words more plain, exact and to the point than how
> > Rule 13 of the AERC Rules and Regulations are worded.
> Yes, plain, exact, to the point, and leaving a lot of areas for question
> mind. I BELIEVE in this rule, but I think we need some help
> where some "gray" substances fall. There are new products that straddle
> line between performance enhancement and nutrition. Would I ride a
> horse, or one on Bute? NO! Never! Would I use ProBiotics? Yes. Would
> compete on Flex Free - I'm not sure. At this point, the horse stops all
> supplements (even extra Biotin) for 3 weeks prior to a ride.
> > 13. The integrity of Endurance Competition requires that the equine is
> > influenced by any drug, medication or veterinary treatment. Endurance
> > equines must compete entirely on their natural ability.
> Tell me where cosequin/flex free, etc. fall. Nutrition, drugs? What is
> difference between a "drug" and a "medication"? I'm not trying to be
> here - I really want to know what went through the minds of the committee
> they differentiate between the two. It may help to clear up some of my
> How about proBiotics that folks are starting to use? Yes they are
> occurring in the horse (ie the gut flora) but they are give in large
> compared to what the horse would normally ingest. The horse will not die
> without them, <but their performance will be enhanced>. Are these
> Acceptance seems to be widespread for ProBiotics.
> These are the areas that need clarification to me. I'm interested in
> and guidance.
> Linda Flemmer
Check it Out!
Back to TOC