The American Association of Equine Practitioner’s annual convention is always a place where some of the greatest minds in veterinary medicine gather to describe new research, exchange ideas and begin new programs that will eventually improve the entire equine industry.
This year, during the convention held November 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas, a group of industry leaders gathered to discuss the details of hair testing. The purpose was to gather the leadership of the laboratories that conduct hair testing to discuss common testing protocols and work to ensure that uniform results are reported.
A closed session involved representatives from UC Davis, LGC Science, Inc., Texas A&M Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, Industrial Laboratories Company, Inc., the Association of Racing Commissioners International, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and AQHA.
It was agreed that a Standard Operating Procedure will be developed and agreed upon by the group for all things related to hair testing, including sample collection, screening, and confirmation testing of all positive findings. These procedures are targeted to be finalized by mid-January of 2018. In order to provide testing for Quarter Horse racing, the laboratory must agree to adhere to the standard described.
Furthermore, a study will be done in cooperation with RMTC whereby the labs are all sent portions of the same sample to determine if their findings are uniform.
After the closed session, the meeting was opened up to key industry stockholders. They were given a brief overview of the testing procedure and a recap of the items outlined above. Then the floor was opened up to questions and discussion.
“Ultimately, the goal was to ensure standardized testing for the industry, and to enlighten people about the protocol,” said Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “I feel it is very important that AQHA protects the horsemen and give them confidence that our efforts in preserving the integrity of our sport are held to a high standard. We want both the regulatory bodies and the horsemen to have faith in hair testing as a useful tool in deterring misuse of medication in our industry.”
Those interested in the topic can learn more by attending the Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson, Arizona, where it will be a topic presented on Tuesday, December 6. VanBebber will be among the panelists, and will be joined by Dr. Scott Stanley, director of the CAHFS Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UC Davis, and Ismael Trejo, the executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission.