An emphasis on applying best practices and achieving best outcomes marked Day 2 of the inaugural Regulatory/Official Veterinary Continuing Education conference (#RegVetCE), presented by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance and the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
The morning was highlighted by a spirited and far-reaching discussion on “The Order of Raceday and Official Veterinary Procedures,” moderated by Dr. Jeff Blea, a private practitioner based in California, and featuring retired track vet Dr. Greg Taylor and Minnesota Racing Commission vets Dr. Lynn Hovda and Dr. Christy Klatt. Topics ranged from what should and should not result in a scratch at the starting gate to managing relationships with trainers and jockeys.
The ramifications of placing certain at-risk horses on the official Veterinarian’s List elicited spirited debate, especially in regards to “Void Claim” rules that nullifies a claim in instances where horses are vet listed post-race.
“[Voided claim rules] have changed the culture of the claiming game,” said Blea. “It’s made a huge impact as far as horse welfare.”
That perspective was reinforced by California Horse Racing Board vet Dr. Tim Grande, who added, “Entering to lose a horse rather than to win a race is unacceptable in this day and age.”
Other morning presentations included Dr. John Hubbell of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on “Raceday Emergency Medications,” presenting research on preferred anesthetics and proper dosages for the exerted racehorse; Dr. Tim Parkin, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology at the University of Glasgow, presented findings from the Equine Injury Database (EID) and its predictive capabilities moving forward; and Dr. Rick Arthur, California Horse Racing Board Equine Medical Director, on more ways the EID may reduce on-track injuries, including EID relationships with jockey injury data.
The afternoon consisted of four presentations: Florida-based attorney Brad Beilly on “The Legal Ramifications of Test Sample Chain Custody”; Dr. Mick Peterson, University of Kentucky AgEquine Programs Director and Executive Director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, on “Racing Surface Data Valuable to the Regulatory Veterinarian”; Dr. Alan Ruggles of Rood and Riddle on “Providing a Best Chance at a Best Outcome for the Injured Racehorse”; and Dr. Roberta Dwyer of the University of Kentucky on “Infectious Disease and Biosecurity at the Racetrack.”
The sold-out conference, which attracted 61 participants from 20 states and four countries (and covering more than 100 racetracks), was organized by Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance, and Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director and COO of the RMTC.
“Feedback on this first-of-its-kind event has been completely positive and all attendees seem firm that this must become a regular event. Our mission coming into this week was to support the vets in the field by helping to develop their network and access to resources. Clearly this was achieved and the horses are the ultimate beneficiaries.”
Among the attendees was Dr. Scott Palmer, who oversees the health and safety of horses at all Thoroughbred racetracks in New York as the state’s equine medical director.
“I thought it was a very good conference,” Palmer said. “The location was outstanding and Keeneland is a wonderful host site. The trainer participation – having the non-disclosure agreements so we were able to go in their barns and look at their horses – was great. This job has become a profession over the years and, like any job, there are certain skill sets required to be effective in it; I thought it was very interesting to hear what other people thought are most important. Equine medical directors from all states should be here, and they are.”
The Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) program of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) approved #RegVet CE to offer 18.5 veterinarian continuing education credits.
Regulatory/Official Veterinary CE was made possible through the generous support of The Stronach Group, Keeneland, and New York Racing Association. Additional support was provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, LGC Science, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, NTRA Advantage, Oak Tree Racing Association, RMTC, The Jockey Club, Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Truesdail Laboratories, and University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs.
About the RMTC
The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.
About the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance
The NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance is a standing organization establishing standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horseracing and to secure their implementation. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Insurance Office of America and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.