By: Natalie Voss
Kentucky regulators came a step closer to bringing the state’s regulations in line with the National Uniform Medication Program (NUMP) on Tuesday afternoon when the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council voted to approve drug classifications, penalty schedules, withdrawal guidelines and thresholds set out by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Kentucky has been partially in line with the NUMP but has not kept up with more recent edits to the program by the RMTC.
“We’ve rehashed it before, but this will now go forward to the commission and it will get us caught up on the things that came through after we last changed the regulation, and I think that’s very important,” said Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council voted to approve language for a statement on screening limits for certain drugs. Scollay said drug testing has become so sensitive in some states now that it can pick up on trace amounts of therapeutic drugs far past the time they likely have any impact on the animal. Different drug testing laboratories have different methods and equipment sensitivities, so when they aren’t given a threshold to test against, they may have different responses to whether a given substance constitutes a positive. A screening limit would provide a basic proficiency level that multiple laboratories could use to keep testing more consistent between jurisdictions.
Scollay said screening limits would likely be provided not for heavy-hitting performance enhancing substances, but rather for therapeutic drugs beyond the ones already addressed in NUMP. If a horse needs to be treated, Scollay said horsemen should give preference to the therapeutic substances outlined in NUMP, but occasionally veterinarians need alternative medication options if an individual case doesn’t respond to a common treatment.
“We’ve addressed a lot of therapeutics with thresholds, but now we’re finding there’s a lot of vulnerability for substances for which there are not thresholds,” said Scollay. “Now you can have consistent regulatory language but different enforcement because of the different laboratories’ proficiencies.”