December 3, 2013

Contact: Hallie Roach Lewis (859) 224-2848


The Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC) is releasing two position papers which stated that no physiologic difference among the various racing breeds exists to justify changing regulatory thresholds from those recently established by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC) for the use of corticosteroids and clenbuterol.

The recommendations were made by a panel comprised of recognized laboratory directors, veterinary pharmacologists, practicing veterinarians, regulatory veterinarians, and veterinary surgeons with extensive experience in Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The panel was established by the RMTC in response to a request by the United States Trotting Association (USTA) at the September 2013 RMTC board meeting to establish more liberal thresholds for the use of intra-articular corticosteroids and clenbuterol in the Standardbred breed.

The panel included the following individuals:

Rick Arthur, DVM – Equine Medical Director, California Horse Racing Board
Larry Bramlage, DVM, DACVS – Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital
Tom Brokken, DVM – Teigland, Franklin, and Brokken DVMs, PA
Lynn Hovda – RPH, DVM, MS, DACVIM – Chief Commission Veterinarian – Minnesota Racing Commission
Heather Knych, DVM, MS, PhD – University of California, Davis
Bobby Lewis, DVM – Elgin Veterinary Hospital
Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DACVS – Surgeon and Professor, Colorado State University
Paul Nolan, DVM – Equine Sports Medicine Associates
Mary Robinson, VMD, PhD – University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Rick Sams, PhD – HFLSS-Lexington
Mary Scollay, DVM – Kentucky Horse Racing Commission

The Corticosteroid Position Paper outlines the concerns regarding both short term pain masking effects of corticosteroids as well as long term damage caused by injudicious use of these medications. The panel affirmed the thresholds originally proposed by the RMTC.

“The benefit of the intra-articular corticosteroid thresholds as enacted by RMTC is to allow sufficient time between treatment and racing to allow the veterinarian to evaluate the effects of such treatment,” stated panel member Dr. Wayne McIlwraith of Colorado State University. “Moreover, by providing a significant separation between intra-articular corticosteroid treatments and race-day, we minimize the potential for those treatments obscuring a more serious injury and compromising pre-race examinations.”

The Clenbuterol Position Paper provides a review of both the legitimate beneficial effects and potential integrity issues associated with clenbuterol use. Ultimately, the panel determined that the original threshold recommended by RMTC should be upheld.

“We believe that protecting the integrity of horse racing is paramount and, therefore, there should be a sufficient separation between the administration of clenbuterol and race day for all horses which is supported by the existing threshold,” stated RMTC board member and panel member Dr. Bobby Lewis. “We do, however, acknowledge the need to provide options to veterinarians that allow them to appropriately treat horses which is why we recommended researching albuterol and guaifenasin as alternative treatments to clenbuterol.”

Full copies of these documents are available at:
Clenbuterol Paper and Corticosteroids Paper.

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.

For additional information, visit the RMTC website at or contact Hallie Lewis, RMTC director of communications, at (859) 224-2848.