Severe Penalties for Use of Zilpaterol

Newsdate: Mon, 6 Dec 2010 - 09:00 am
Location: TUCSON, Arizona

The RCI Board called for a minimum penalty of one year suspension and fines in excess of $10,000 for a first Zilpaterol hydrochloride (Zillmax) violation. A second violation would result in a three year suspension and a minimum fine of $25,000. A third positive would result in a five year suspension and a $50,000 fine.

"This drug has no business being in a horse, let alone a racehorse," RCI President Ed Martin said. "There are some who believe they can circumvent the restrictions on steroids by using Zilpaterol. This cannot be tolerated."

Zilpaterol hydrochloride is an adrenergic agonist drug licensed in Mexico and South Africa as a feed additive for cattle at slaughter age. Zilpaterol is a relatively new product and is manufactured by the same company that manufactures ractopamine.

"Neither of these drugs has any business being administered to a horse and certainly the presence of either substance in a horse can only be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to cheat by circumventing the current restrictions on anabolic steroids, as the effect is perceived to be similar," Martin said.

"Based on our review there is no documented medical reason for Zilpaterol hydrochloride to be administered to a horse and therefore if it is found there can be no other motive than a deliberate attempt to violate racing's medication rules," he continued.

The RCI Veterinary Pharmacology Subcommittee, chaired by Dr. Richard Sams, recommended that Zilpaterol be classified as a Class 3 substance based upon its pharmacology. The RCI Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee concurred and the classification was formally adopted today by the RCI Board.

New Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) Guideline

In other action, the RCI Board adopted a recommendation from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium to reclassify Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) as a Class 4 substance with a recommended a plasma threshold of 10 micrograms/ml, which would allow for its use as a topical leg paint but would not allow for the oral or intravenous administration of the drug.

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..