AAEP Encourages National Reining Horse Association To Reconsider Sedative Rule

Reining horse and rider coming to abrupt stop in competition.
Reining horse and rider coming to abrupt stop in competition. Edward Dalmulder

Newsdate: Thursday, September 22, 2022, 10:00 am
Location: LEXINGTON, Kentucky

On Sept. 15, 2022, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) submitted the letter below to the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) regarding the association's permission of the use of romifidine 30 minutes before competition. 

Horse and rider in a whirl of sand during a reining competition.

Horse and rider in a whirl of sand during a reining competition

Allowing a horse to enter a show ring at 30 minutes post-administration of romifidine presents a safety and welfare risk to both the horse and rider.
© 2013 by Edward Dalmulder New window.

Under the guidance of our Welfare & Public Policy Advisory Council, the AAEP has submitted a letter to the National Reining Horse Association asking the group to reconsider its new policy allowing the use of compounded romifidine for sedative effects 30 minutes before competition due to the negative impact on the health and welfare of both horse and rider.

Here is a copy of the letter from Emma Read, DVM, MVSc, DACVS - President – 2022 - American Association of Equine Practitioners:

Mr. Rick Clark
President
National Reining Horse Association
3021 West Reno Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73107

Dear President Clark and NRHA Executive Committee,

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is a U.S.-based professional association of more than 9,000 equine veterinarians that is committed to ensuring the health and welfare of horses. We would like to share our concerns regarding recent changes to NRHA's medications policy, specifically with regards to the addition of romifidine as an approved medication.

We applaud you for many of your policy changes; however, we wish to share our grave concerns regarding your allowance of compounded romifidine for sedative effects and its impact on the health and welfare of both horse and rider.

Romifidine is a sedative of the most common class used in horses, the α2-adrenergic receptor agonists. Unlike phenothiazine tranquilizers such as acepromazine, the α2-agonists produce significant analgesia (decreased pain perception) in addition to sedative effects, including ataxia (loss of coordination and balance). Much research has been conducted on horses receiving romifidine.

These studies have demonstrated that at 30 minutes post-administration, 80 percent of horses still show signs of mild to moderate sedation, and signs of lameness are significantly decreased from a pre-administration baseline evaluation.

Ataxia may still be present up to an hour after administration, and diminished response to painful stimuli and other signs of sedation may persist up to 2 hours in some horses.

Taken together, allowing a horse to enter a show ring at 30 minutes post-administration of romifidine presents a safety and welfare risk to both the horse and rider, including masking a lameness that could become worse with riding, or results in the horse tripping and injuring him/herself and the rider.

The analgesic effects of this drug furthermore can be considered performance enhancing and an affront to the spirit of fair competition.

Also, as you are aware, there is no FDA-approved form of romifidine manufactured in the United States. Sedivet, previously manufactured in the U.S., is no longer available in the U.S. but is in Canada and Europe. Therefore, romifidine in any form in the U.S. can only be obtained from a compounding company.

Read the entire letter and article by clicking HERE


Press release by AAEP

 

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