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USDA Testing Produces Mixed Results



The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) collected blood samples and “swabs” at the 2014 Celebration in their continued effort to explore ways to further HPA enforcement.  The USDA utilizes gas chromatography technology to look at foreign substances and more recently has been pulling blood in an effort to look at potential substances that could be used to mask or numb an entry.

USDA personnel conducted random blood sampling of 103 horses at the Celebration and five of those horses tested positive for prohibited substances.  According to Tanya Espinosa with USDA-APHIS, the guidelines used to determine positive tests were done so according to United States Equestrian Federation protocols (https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/Drugs/Rules.aspx).  Three horses tested positive for diclofenac, one for prednisolone and one for flunixin, ketoprofen and phenylbutazone.  Click here for USDA report.

The USDA “swabbed” 125 horses at the 2014 Celebration with 65 horses testing positive.  As part of the USDA foreign substance testing via gas chromatography, USDA utilizes a zero tolerance for any foreign substance without incorporating a baseline such as the one utilized by USEF in blood testing.  In breaking down the types of foreign substances found by USDA testing, 16 violations were categorized as counterirritants, 43 were counterirritants and masking agents and six were masking or numbing agents.  Click here to see the breakdown of violations  and click here to see the categories.

In neither report did USDA list the name of the horse or entry number of the horse that was tested or that produced a potential violation.  The USDA has not used gas chromatography nor blood testing to disqualify any horse from competition or issue a formal HPA complaint.  The USDA has used the gas chromatography results to issue letters of warning to applicable parties.

As part of the 2014 Celebration, a newly formed Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) also conducted random blood sampling.  The VAC used a different list of banned substances from the USEF list used by USDA.  The VAC conducted random blood sampling on 230 horses and 36 of those tested positive.
 

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